So many people have problems with balance and most don’t know that Doctors of Audiology are Hearing and Balance Specialists.
Most people also don’t know that the organ of balance is located deep in the inner ear, adjacent to the hearing portion, and thus, many of our patients have both hearing and balance concerns. Some ear problems such as Meniere’s disease or an acoustic neuroma (a growth on the hearing nerve that is not cancerous), for example, have both hearing and balance symptoms that prompt a visit to our office.
Our patients describe their balance problems as “vertigo” (room spinning), dizziness, imbalance, a floating sensation, a sensation of falling, light-headedness, or fuzziness. People don’t know how to describe it—all they know is that they don’t like it and they don’t want it to occur ever again.
It takes persistence and skill on the part of the Doctor of Audiology to weave out what is truly caused by an ear problem or whether the symptom reflects something else that’s going on in a different part of your body. Dizziness is like a bad back. It can be caused by many, many things...
In addition to a good case history, the Doctors of Audiology also have a test at their disposal called Videonystagmography (VNG). During the VNG, special glasses are placed over your eyes and the Doctor of Audiology monitors your eye movement via a computer while deliberately stimulating the organs in your ear that control balance. Since those organs should be working well and since they should also be working symmetrically (right ear and left ear responds the same to the test), this test is helpful in pinpointing whether the balance problem is located in your ears.
Once the Doctor of Audiology has confirmed the problem is ear related, treatment plans are put in place.