Millions of people are affected by vestibular disorders throughout the world. Examples include Vestibular Neuritis, Meniere’s Disease, Acoustic Neuroma (Vestibular Schwannoma) and Vestibular Migraine. These types of balance disorders can vary in terms of their intensity and how they impact individuals, where in some cases patients can be left fully disabled and unable to attend work.
What Symptoms Occur With Balance Disorders?
The following is a list of some of the symptoms that one can experience with a balance disorder:
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of balance
- Feelings of rocking and swaying
How Do I Know What’s Causing My Balance Disorder?
In short, there can be many reasons behind balance disorders. These can range from a head or neck injury, to viral infections, which can lead to conditions such as Vestibular Neuritis causing damage and inflammation to the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve is essential for maintaining balance and transmitting auditory information from the inner ear, to the brain. It is also the eighth cranial nerve; damaging this nerve can lead to sensory information being processed incorrectly within the brain.
Other balance disorders can come into effect, where loud sounds or motion (such as when on a flight) can be involved. An example is MdDS (Mal de Debarquement Syndrome), which makes one feel like they are rocking or swaying after they have disembarked from a moving vehicle. It is also possible for the swaying and rocking sensation to be summoned without a trigger with some individuals.
In addition, for balance disorders such as Meniere’s Disease, factors that pertain to autoimmunity can be the reason why someone may suffer from a vestibular disorder. Autoimmune reactions can damage and alter the structure of the inner ear, resulting in irregular sensory input from the vestibular system, being transmitted to the brain.
There is also one more aspect where those that suffer from a vestibular disorder may not be aware of, and that’s hyperinsulinemia. This is where excess insulin is found in the blood. According to one study 72% of those with Meniere’s Disease suffered from hyperinsulinemia. However in comparison with glucose levels, only 21% of patients had abnormal glucose levels.
From this we can conclude that balance disorders can be due to a number of different factors.