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What is the Vestibular (Balance) System?

Vestibular system…what’s that? The vestibular system is our balance system! Working in conjunction with our visual and skeletal systems, the vestibular system allows you to recognize where you are in space – upright, leaning, falling, etc.   

The vestibular system in particular is very important when it comes to maintaining a sense of equilibrium. The structures making up the vestibular system are in the inner ear. There are 3 large semicircular canals, each of which are responsible for sensing angular motion – as in, head turning up/down, left/right, and rolling from side to side. There are also two other sections, called the utricle and saccule, that are responsible for sensing vertical and horizontal movements. As you can imagine, with even just one of these structures malfunctioning, you may feel intense dizziness or vertigo!  

Some disorders can cause vertigo, which is the sensation that the world around you is spinning while you remain still. Other disorders can cause general dizziness, or the feeling of being off balance. Since the vestibular system is located in the inner ear, some balance disorders are also related to hearing loss. Luckily, there is testing to rule out certain disorders if you are feeling dizzy! The best way to get to the bottom of what is causing your dizziness or vertigo is to have balance testing done.  

If you have felt dizzy recently, it is best to contact your primary care doctor, so they are aware of the issue. If they suggest balance testing, Gardner Audiology is currently accepting new patients. If you would like more information, please contact Gardner Audiology at 1-800-277-1182 or email info@gardneraudiology.com. 

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