You thought your hearing system was all about hearing. Well, it’s true. That hearing mechanism inside your skull converts sound waves into electrical signals that are sent to the brain’s hearing center for processing. A genuine miracle of nature.
But there’s another whole system called the vestibular system that’s a part of the hearing system. The vestibular system is a series of semicircular canals, filled with fluid. The system is designed for one thing: to keep you upright, oriented and moving in the right direction.
Damage to the vestibular system leads to dizziness, vertigo, regular nausea, spatial disorientation and other symptoms that diminish quality of life.
Other causes of vertigo include: low blood pressure, head trauma ( a concussion, for instance) and even a common cold when you experience that “stuffy head” feeling.
According to a study out of Johns Hopkins, 69 million people, over the age of 40, are up to 12 times more likely to experience dizziness due to a malfunction of the vestibular system caused by inner ear problems.
The study also revealed that those numbers rise with age. In other words, the older you get the more apt you are to have vestibular problems – problems with balance. In turn, a sudden bout of vertigo can send you tumbling, leading to serious injury and even death.
Vestibular Disorder and Treatments
Only a highly-trained hearing professional, such as Otolaryngologists and Audiologist, can provide the testing persons with vestibular disorder require in order to determine the cause of the balance issues. Following diagnosis treatment plans are set in place by the Otolaryngologist and a vestibular specialist – often physical therapists trained in vestibular disorders.
Various medications often provide relief in many cases. The vestibular specialist is also likely to develop a program that includes eye and eye scan exercises, head movement exercises, and provide a series of tips for doing something as simple as standing up from a sitting position.
Tai Chi is now shown promise in addressing the symptoms associated with vestibular disorder. According to a recently released study, this gentle, slow-moving art not only helps tone muscles and keep joints supple, it also helps in maintaining your balance longer.
To learn more about the benefits of practicing Tai Chi to improve balance, visit: Tai Chi: Improving Balance with Ancient Art