4 Common Vestibular Disorders Treated By Audiologists

Posted on: 16 June 2015

The vestibular system is a system in the body that is responsible for controlling balance as well as movement that occurs behind the eye; it is generally associated with parts of the brain and the inner ear. There are numerous disorders associated with the vestibular system that can result in negative side effects. This brief article will aim at elucidating 4 such disorders and how an audiologist, or a medical staff member that specializes in addressing the inner ear, can help you cope with such disorders, or even snuff them out completely. Throughout the course of this article, you will learn about Meniere's disease, vestibular neuronitis, perilymph fistula, and labyrinthitis.

Meniere's Disease

Signs that you might be suffering from Meniere's disease include the usual suspects, dizziness and vertigo, but also may include symptoms more associated with inner ear issues such as tinnitus or hearing loss. The duration of Meniere's disease may be temporary, or it may be a chronic issue that can lead to problems throughout one's life.

Meniere's disease is generally believed to be caused due to an excess of fluids in the inner ear, the effects of which can be exacerbated or even caused by a herpes simplex. An audiologist can help you with Meniere's disease in numerous ways, including offering up dietary habits that can ease the ill effects of Meniere's disease, prescribing antihistamines, and, in some more serious cases, recommending surgery.

Vestibular Neuronitis

Vestibular neuronitis is a blanket term for a solitary vertigo spell, or series of veritgo attacks, that occur in an individual due to a vestibular disorder. These attacks are generally coupled with a strong sense of nausea and heavy vomiting throughout the attack.

Vestibular neuronitis does not affect one's sense of hearing in any sense, and to put a common myth to rest: vestibular neuronitis will not contribute to permanent hearing loss in the person suffering from it. An audiologist may recommend that the patient attend physical therapy, with the physical therapist having the patient perform head movements and simple walking exercises used to alleviate the effects of vertigo. Vestibular neuronitis has not proven to be a serious disease and audiologists will generally recommend against the use of medication.

Perilymph Fistula

Perilymph fistula refers to the specific phenomenon of the walls that separate the inner ear and middle ear tearing or ripping, causing fluid in the inner ear to spill over to the middle ear, which is typically air filled. Perilymph fistula is a rather sensitive disease, in the sense that it may cause constant discomfort, but the patient will not realize that the matter has something to do with his or her ear.

This may result in a constant "popping" feeling within the head and ear, dizziness, and sudden, short term hearing loss. A person suffering from this ailment will be told to avoid any physical activity, and in some cases surgery will be recommended in order to mend the torn wall.


Labyrinthitis refers to the labyrinths contained within the vestibular system being affected by a bacteria or a virus. Labyrinthitis will manifest itself as strong bouts of vertigo, tinnitus and even hearing loss. It can also install a physical sense of anxiety within you.

Labyrinthitis is known to produce heavy breathing and even heart palpitations within patients. An audiologist will generally recommend several modes of therapy in order to cope with this disorder. Perhaps the most common among these therapeutic treatments are gaze stability exercises. This is where a patient's head will remain stationary, while he or she focuses his or her gaze on a moving object. This will serve to stabilize the labyrinth portion of the vestibular system.

Vestibular disorders are common. Consult an audiologist for more information if you think you may be suffering from one of these disorders. You can click here for more information about audiologists in your area.