Managing Your Balance When You Have BPPV
Vertigo is a common condition that causes you to feel dizzy or as though your head is spinning– even when there’s no outside cause. There are actually a few different types of vertigo, one of which is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, which affects the inner ear. If this sounds familiar, then it’s important to know that there are ways to manage it so you can enjoy your best quality of life. Here’s what to know about BPPV and how you can get treatment with our Doctors of Audiology.
What Causes BPPV?
BPPV can occur when tiny crystals in the inner ear move out of their normal position. When you move your head into a different position, such as from looking ahead to looking down or from sitting to lying down, it can cause the crystals to move around in the inner ear. The earthen senses these abnormal movements and reports them to the brain, resulting in a feeling of spinning or dizziness.
What are the Symptoms of BPPV?
When you have BPPV, it can strike whenever you change your position in certain ways. The symptoms can range from relatively mild to severe and can even cause you to panic and lose your balance, resulting in injury. Falling can sometimes happen when you stand up from a seated or prone position or while walking. In extreme cases, BPPV can make you feel as though your head is spinning, which can lead to nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can be scary and can lead people to believe they have a serious health condition.
BPPV can be easily diagnosed by a Doctor of Audiology who specializes in this condition. It starts with a physical exam and a hearing test to determine any degree of hearing loss you may have. Your Doctor of Audiology then performs a test that involves air being inserted into each ear to see which one is affected. You’ll also be required to position your head to the left and right alternatively. If there is dizziness while one ear is being worked on, it means that the ear is unaffected. If there is no dizziness, that side is affected. This can help your Doctor of Audiology determine which ear might be causing the problem.
Treatment for BPPV is done with physical therapy. You’ll be instructed to perform certain head movements to change position. This has the goal of getting the crystals in the inner ear back into the proper position. The repositioning of the crystals only takes around 15 minutes and simply involves sitting up and making head movements with the help of your physical therapist. For example, you can perform three sets of 10 movements, including bowing the head forward and tilting it back, turning the head from left to right, and tilting it from left to right. While performing these exercises, it’s important to keep your eyes looking forward without shifting your view. In most cases, patients find relief from vertigo symptoms with regular sessions.
Schedule a Consultation
At the New York Institute for Hearing & Balance, we can ensure you get the treatment you need for BPPV with the help of our expert team. To meet with our Doctors of Audiology and learn more, we invite you to contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.