If you experience chronic dizziness, you may have a lot of questions about why it’s affecting you and how you can fix it. Below are some of the frequently asked questions our balance experts are asked and information that may provide some peace of mind.
How Does the Balance System Work?
The primary system for helping you balance is the vestibular system, which is located in the inner ear.
The inner ear has three main parts: the cochlea, which helps you hear, the vestibule and the semicircular canals. The vestibule is dome-shaped and located between the other two parts; its primary role is to tell your brain how much you are moving backward and forward. The semi-circular canals are filled with fluid which help your body determine how your body is rotating and where your head is in space.
This system works with your eyes, muscles and touch sensors to help you balance. Incorrect signals from any of these areas can cause you to feel dizzy or unbalanced.
If I Feel Dizzy, Do I Need to Be Tested?
If you’re feeling dizzy for a reason you cannot pinpoint or to a degree that interferes with your daily life, we recommend getting a balance test. Even if you don’t feel like your symptoms are serious, left untreated, they are likely to worsen over time. Sometimes dizziness is caused by a serious underlying condition that should be treated right away. Even if the underlying condition isn’t serious, identifying and treating the cause of your dizziness can help you experience a greater quality of life.
How Should I Prepare for a Balance Test?
Certain medications can affect the results of a balance test. You should not take any medications prescribed to help with dizziness, as this will produce inaccurate results. The rule of thumb is to discontinue any non-life-sustaining drugs in preparation for your balance test; do not discontinue medications for blood pressure, cardiac or circulatory problems, diabetes or similar medical problems.
For 48 hours before your appointment, avoid:
- Medications for dizziness
- Sleeping pills
- OTC cold or allergy medications
- Alcoholic beverages
On the day of the test, do not consume any caffeine, use tobacco or wear makeup. You should avoid eating and drinking anything for three hours before the test as well.
For more information about balance disorders or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, call the experts at Hearing Services of Santa Barbara today.