Top Ten Facts You Should Know About Vestibular Disorders

VEDA hears stories on a daily basis from our members about the trials and tribulations that they are faced with on a regular basis. Vestibular disorders cause overwhelming dizziness, vertigo, and other symptoms that can’t be seen, and are difficult for others—sometimes, even close friends and family members—to understand. People often struggle with their profound impacts on health, relationships, family interactions, and finances. Diagnosis and treatment are not always straightforward for vestibular disorders. Vestibular disorders can affect a person in many ways and are often unpredictable, occurring on a constant or intermittent basis. For these reasons, VEDA’s Balance Awareness Week is more important than ever.

We want to share the Top 10 things that people may not know about vestibular disorders.  We encourage you to share these within your own community to help raise awareness and provide educational opportunities to those who may be unaware of these important facts. Click here to download this informative information as a flier to share with friends, family, and coworkers, and/or distribute at your local senior center or community organization.

Top Ten Facts About Vestibular Disorders:

  1. The word “vestibular” refers to the inner-ear balance system. To achieve good physical balance we rely on our brain, eyes, inner-ear, and muscular-skeletal system to work in harmony. Balance is commonly taken for granted until it is impaired.
  2. Over 35% of US adults aged 40 years and older (69 million Americans) have had vestibular dysfunction at some point in their lives.
  3. Balance problems can occur for many reasons:  inner-ear disease, a virus, a traumatic brain injury, poisoning by certain antibiotics (ototoxicity), autoimmune causes, migraines, and aging.
  4. People with vestibular disorders are challenged with the following symptoms:  vertigo (spinning sensation), dizziness, fatigue, jumping vision, unsteadiness, “brain fog”, nausea/vomiting, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  5. People with vestibular disorders can suffer cognitive impacts, such as poor concentration, memory, and word recall; difficulty reading while tracking printed text; and impaired mental stamina.
  6. An often successful treatment is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT).  VRT has been shown to be an important part of the management of vestibular patients and can improve by 70-80%.
  7. Some low-impact exercise routines can improve balance, such as Tai Chi, yoga or use of the Wii video game along with the Wii Balance Board.
  8. Balance disorders are an invisible chronic illness.  Because they are “invisible,” others frequently assume the patient is overreacting or faking their symptoms.
  9. Early research on the vestibular system came from NASA’s study on returning astronauts in the space program.
  10. A support group can provide helpful information and support.  To find a vestibular disorders support group in your area visit VEDA’s website at http://vestibular.org/finding-help-support/support-directory.