Vestibular disorders can be complicated and are frequently misunderstood. On Day 2 of Balance Awareness Week, we wanted to share the latest ‘The Top 10 Facts About Vestibular Disorders’ created by the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) to raise awareness. To download a PDF of the original, please click here.

* Comments in blue added by Vortex

Top Ten Facts about Vestibular Disorders

1.The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved with balance.

2. Over 35% of US adults aged 40 years and older (69 million Americans) have had a vestibular dysfunction at some point in their lives.

Vestibular issues are much more common than you think. However, since there often aren’t outward symptoms to identify, it’s impossible to tell who may be suffering unless they tell you. Out of every 10 adults you know, at least 3 may be dealing with vestibular issues.

3. Vestibular disorders can be caused by disease, injury, poisoning by drugs or chemicals, autoimmune causes, traumatic brain injury, or aging. Many vestibular disorders occur from unexplained causes.

– It’s important to note that vestibular diagnoses can be difficult to obtain; people often get more than one diagnoses from their doctors and some get none at all. However, vestibular therapy can treat and improve the symptoms so you can get back to daily life.

4. Symptoms of vestibular disorders include dizziness, vertigo (a spinning sensation), imbalance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, jumping vision, nausea/vomiting, hearing loss, anxiety, and cognitive difficulties.

– These symptoms can and do get better with vestibular exercises.

5. Vestibular disorders are difficult to diagnose. It is common for a patient to consult 4 or more physicians over a period several years before receiving an accurate diagnosis.

– Vestibular disorders can be quite complex, even for experienced medical professionals working in this field every day. If you are experiencing dizziness symptoms, make sure you see a provider who is well-versed in treating them.

6. There is no “cure” for most vestibular disorders. They may be treated with medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes (e.g. diet, exercise), surgery, or positional maneuvers. In most cases, patients must adapt to a host of life-altering limitations.

– There are many things you can do to improve your life and minimize your symptoms. We recommend checking out the resources available on www.vestibular.org, as well as seeing vestibular specialists to get you back on track. 

7. Vestibular disorders impact patients and their families physically, mentally, and emotionally. In addition to physical symptoms such as dizziness and vertigo, vestibular patients can experience poor concentration, memory, and mental fatigue. Many vestibular patients suffer from anxiety and depression due to fear of falling and the loss of their independence.

– These secondary symptoms are all very common and extremely frustrating to people already dealing with dizziness and vertigo. We also frequently hear from patients that people “just don’t understand” what they are going through. It’s important to treat body and mind for best results. 

8. Common vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière’s disease, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, and vestibular migraine.

– Of these disorders, BPPV is typically the easiest to treat and resolve the spinning. At Vortex, we treat this as an acute issue and try to schedule people with BPPV within 24 hours.

9. In the US, medical care for patients with chronic balance disorders exceeds $1 billion per year.

10. The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) is the largest patient organization providing information, support, and advocacy for vestibular patients worldwide.