Vestibular (balance) disorders – usually characterized by dizziness, vertigo or disequilibrium – can afflict people of any age. According to one large study, as many as 35 percent of adults over age 40 in the U.S. have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction. Increasing attention is now being paid to the disorder in children.
When medical or surgical therapy fails to relieve the symptoms, vestibular rehabilitation may prove to be an effective option. It is an exercise-based treatment designed to improve function of the three critical bodily systems that impact your balance:
- the inner ear,
- the eyes, and
- the muscles in your legs.
Vestibular rehabilitation promotes the integration and processing of information by the brain from these three sensory systems.
Ear Institute’s Strengths in this Field
The Ear Institute of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary has assembled one of the most skilled and experienced vestibular rehabilitation teams in the Northeast. Each member is a specially trained physical therapist (PT) with a clinical doctorate; most are also board-certified in either neurological or geriatric rehabilitation. Members also bring an average of 16 years clinical experience to their jobs, and continue their academic pursuits through teaching, research and presentations at national conferences.
Patients benefit in another way that most treatment centers can’t match: our vestibular therapists work as a collaborative team with other clinical specialists at the Ear Institute as well as the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary who are pivotal to the diagnosis and treatment of balance disorders. These include otologists-neurotologists, audiologists, speech-language pathologists and ophthalmologists. And because vestibular problems may have a psychological component, our rehabilitation department can bring in social workers who are able to help patients cope with symptoms like anxiety and depression.
Components of Vestibular Rehabilitation Program
You must first be referred by your physician to our vestibular rehabilitation program. Once you’re accepted, you will be given an initial evaluation during which a full medical history relating to your balance problem will be gathered and reviewed, including any previous hearing or balance testing. Additional tests may be recommended to provide the fullest possible picture.
Vestibular rehabilitation consists of 45-minute sessions with one of our highly skilled physical therapists. These sessions at our conveniently located and fully equipped center in Manhattan are integrated with a comprehensive home exercise program to ensure maximum results. The length of the vestibular rehabilitation program at the Ear Institute is three to six months, depending on the progress you show.
Whether cause by age, a trauma or as a result of a disease, patients can find relief in the physical therapy program offered by our vestibular disorder specialties. Balance disorders treated include:
- Acoustic neuromas
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Cervicogenic dizziness
- Dehiscent superior semicircular canal syndrome (DSSCS)
- Imbalance of aging
- Meniere’s disease
- Perilymphatic fistula
- Superior canal dehiscence (SCD)
- Vestibular neuronitis and labyrinthitis