Balance Disorders, Dizziness and Vertigo

What are balance disorders?

People with balance disorders may experience a wide range of symptoms, including nausea, dizziness, vertigo, problems with vision and hearing, and sometimes changes in heart rate and blood pressure.

A complexity of systems, including the vestibular (ear), visual (eyes), and proprioception (your sense of how your body takes up space around you), contribute to balance and spatial awareness. Any one of these systems may be impacted by an injury to the head, an infection in the ear, or as a side effect of certain types of medications.

Types of balance disorders and testing available

Some of the more common types of balance disorders include:

  • Labyrinthitis – Also called vestibular neuritis, this condition is caused by a viral infection or inflammation. Symptoms include vertigo, nausea, and dizziness.
  • Ménière’s disease – A condition in which inner ear fluid creates extreme pressure thus causing tinnitus (ringing), a fullness sensation in the ear, and vertigo.
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – The most common cause of vertigo, a sensation that the room and things around you are moving even when you’re still. The result is dizziness and nausea, with possible vomiting.
  • Vestibular migraine – A hard-to-diagnose condition (because there is no testing for it) that involves light and sound sensitivity, dizziness, and a disabling headache.
    Bilateral vestibulopathy – An inner ear imbalance affecting both ears, which may be caused by cancer drug therapy and some antibiotic treatments

Diagnosis and testing for balance disorders

Balance disorder symptoms often resemble symptoms of other conditions so balance disorders aren't always easy to diagnose. Your determine the cause of your condition, your doctor may prescribe different tests, such as:

  • Electronystagmography (ENG)
  • Videonystagmography (VNG)
  • Rotation testing
  • Computerized dynamic posturography (CDP)
  • Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER)
  • Caloric reflex test
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan


Vestibular Therapy

At Bryn Mawr Rehab we help patients with chronic or acute dizziness and vertigo get back to active, normal living. With several outpatient locations in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, there’s sure to be a vestibular therapist near you.


ENT (Otolaryngology) and Audiology

Main Line Health otolaryngology and audiology experts treat and manage conditions affecting your ears, nose and throat at locations in the Philadelphia area.