September 10, 2018

You may know that inner ear issues can cause dizziness and balance disorders; but did you know that these disorders could soon be detected and possibly even remedied with MRI magnets.

In 2011, Johns Hopkins Researchers made a discovery: the fluid in the inner ear can be affected by an MRI’s magnetic field. We already knew that balance disorders like Vertigo are often caused by inner ear fluid buildup, and this can result in dizziness, feelings of imbalance and eye spasms.  

Researchers hope that the pulling force from an MRI magnet may be able to successfully identify and treat inner ear issues by manipulating the fluids and the pressure in the inner ear.

Sufferers of vertigo, imbalance and dizziness currently undergo uncomfortable and invasive testing procedures, so this news may be a welcome development for future diagnosis and care.

Balance Disorders and the Inner Ear

Episodes of imbalance and dizziness are not rare: they happen to around 40% of adults at least once during a lifetime. Symptoms of balance disorders can include spinning, feelings of vertigo, and dizziness. Feeling lightheaded or faint and become disoriented, confused, or having blurred vision can also accompany these episodes.

  • If you have several incidents of dizziness or imbalance, see your primary care physician. You may then be referred to an audiologist or other specialist for testing to determine the source of the symptoms.
  • Feelings of imbalance, vertigo or dizziness may be triggered by a lot of different causes, such as medicines, problems with the inner ear or brain, or even an injury to the head.

The audiologist or specialist may conduct testing such as:

  • CT scans or an MRI
  • ENT (Electronystagmography): a sequence of evaluations that monitor spontaneous eye movements, including tests that measure how well the eyes work with the inner ears.
  • CDP (Computerized Dynamic Posturography) which test motor control and balance function in changing situations.
  • VEMP (Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential) can observe if the vestibular nerve and sensory cells of the inner ear are complete and properly working.

An audiologist may also conduct hearing tests to see if hearing impairment along with dizziness.

If you have been feeling dizzy or think you could have a balance disorder, check with your audiologist or primary doctor to evaluate the underlying issue.

The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.

Diablo Hearing Services   2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106   San Ramon (925) 394-4646

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