Should I See an Audiologist for Dizziness?
Dizziness and balance issues can be a troubling symptoms to live with. Because it could be a sign of a serious condition, it's important that you visit your doctor if you experience sudden dizziness or balance problems.
Recurring dizziness or chronic dizziness is usually described as light-headedness, a sensation of losing one's balance, or a feeling of being unsteady.
20% to 30% of the general population experience this sometimes debilitating dizziness, and it's one of the top reasons that adults seek medical help. Dizziness is certainly nothing new to your doctor, so don't fee embarrassed to be seen for this troublesome symptom.
Your general physician should be able to rule out any serious medical conditions that could be causing dizziness. You should also seek emergency medical care if you experience dizziness along with any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Falling or difficulty walking
- Weakness in arms or legs
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Sudden hearing loss
- Neck stiffness
- Head trauma or injury
- High fever
When to See an Audiologist for Dizziness
Aside from more obvious medical conditions, dizziness and balance issues could stem from the inner ear or other ear problems, which is why audiologists also specialize in giving balance evaluations. If your doctor has ruled out other medical conditions, he or she may refer you to an audiologist for further examination.
An audiologist can either diagnose or rule out possible inner ear issues, or other reasons for dizziness. After obtaining a diagnosis, an audiologist can provide some balance rehabilitation (vestibular rehabilitation), or may refer you to a physical therapist or occupational therapist for ongoing rehabilitation.
Balance rehabilitation is an ongoing therapy that can help some people to minimize or relieve symptoms of dizziness, as well as partially or fully resolve balance problems. This therapy works especially well for individuals whose dizziness is caused by head movement, motion sensitivity, or certain positions.
Most audiologists can perform VNG (videonystagmography) testing, which can determine if your dizziness is peripheral (ear level), central (brain), or unknown. VGN testing consists of three parts:
1. Saccade Test – this test evaluates rapid eye movements by tracking eye movement as they follow a target visually.
2. Positional Test – Tests the dizziness associated with movment of the head into different positions.
3. Caloric Test – Checks for the response of your eye movements as warm andcold water are circulated through a small tube within your ear canal.
All of these tests give the audiologist valuable information as to what is causing your dizziness.
As you can see, an audiologist can be a good addition to your medical team in figuring out what is causing your dizziness or balance problems.
They can work with your regular doctor to discover if your dizziness is caused by other medical conditions or by problems with the inner ear or brain. They can even refer you to physical or occupational therapists to help rehabilitate you and allow you to live a more normal life.