Your ears aren’t just for hearing; they aid in balance as well. Several structures in the inner ear, together called the vestibular system, send signals to the brain that help you orient yourself and maintain balance.
Sensory information about motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation is provided by the vestibular apparatus, which in each ear includes the utricle, saccule, and three semicircular canals. The utricle and saccule detect gravity (information in a vertical orientation) and linear movement. The semicircular canals, which detect rotational movement, are located at right angles to each other and are filled with a fluid called endolymph. When the head rotates in the direction sensed by a particular canal, the endolymphatic fluid within it lags behind because of inertia, and exerts pressure against the canal’s sensory receptor. The receptor then sends impulses to the brain about movement from the specific canal that is stimulated. When the vestibular organs on both sides of the head are functioning properly, they send symmetrical impulses to the brain. (Impulses originating from the right side are consistent with impulses originating from the left side.)
When these components are not operating properly, you may have some of the following symptoms: unsteadiness, dizziness, vertigo, hearing problems, vision problems even difficulty with concentration and memory. However, with impaired balance such activities as walking from one level stepping up or down, walking on a sidewalk to grass or walking on a gravel driveway can be extremely fatiguing and sometimes dangerous.
So remember, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms act, don’t just dismiss these symptoms. Ask questions and seek testing it could prevent a terrible fall and keep you on a positive health track.
Hearing Partners of South Florida offers comprehensive balance and dizziness testing. For more information on vestibular testing, tinnitus, aural rehabilitation, or hearing health, please contact Hearing Partners of South Florida at Delray 561-638-6530, Boynton 561-7836-6002, Jupiter 561-888-7260 or [email protected]