Balance & Hearing Therapy

Balance and hearing disorders are best treated by a team of doctors. Our physicians and physical therapists collaborate under one roof to treat them.

What is the Vestibular System and What Does It Do?

Your ability to maintain balance is tied closely to your sense of hearing. The vestibular system, commonly referred to as the inner ear, is a key component of a network of systems that keep us upright and balanced while moving. The inner ear contains two structures: the membranous labyrinth and the bony labyrinth, which houses the membranous labyrinth. These structures contain two critical balance components: the semicircular canals, which keep us upright while rotating, and the utricle and saccule, which provide the brain with head-position information when the head is not moving. Disturbances or damage to these structures can result in spinning sensations or dizziness.

Diagnosing and treating balance disorders requires experts from across medical disciplines to deliver optimal care. These clinicians include audiologists; ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists, neurologists and physical therapists.

How Balance/Vestibular Rehabilitation Can Help You

If you are someone who lives in fear of falling, sometimes feels like the room is spinning, or is afraid of stepping off of a curb, you may be among the estimated 69 million Americans who have some sort of vestibular dysfunction. Symptoms caused by the condition may be alleviated by balance/vestibular rehabilitation.

The rehabilitation process is primarily exercise-based. While it isn’t common for patients to regain complete function of their vestibular system after developing balance disorder symptoms, these exercises will retrain the brain to compensate, relying on other bodily senses. Therapists will customize exercises to your condition using three primary methods: habituation, gaze stabilization and balance training.

What are some common balance disorders and how can rehabilitation help?

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: Unlike simple dizziness, a person with vertigo will see their environment spinning. The sensation can be triggered by repositioning the head or body
  • Labyrinthitis: Typically, a virus such as the cold or flu is the source of labyrinthitis. Common symptoms include hearing loss, dizziness and vertigo
  • Vestibular neuritis: Viruses will also sometimes result in vestibular neuritis. However, the primary difference between vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis is that hearing isn’t affected in the latter condition
  • Ménière’s disease: Common symptoms include vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), loss of hearing, and ear pressure. The condition usually begins in one ear and may later appear in the other
  • Inner ear concussion syndrome: Usually brought on by head trauma, inner ear concussion syndrome may cause vertigo, postural imbalance, vomiting, nausea, tinnitus and loss of hearing
  • Traumatic brain injury: Violent blows to the head by an outside force can result in traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms include loss of balance, blackout, dizziness, fatigue or fainting
  • Stroke: Strokes are brought on by disruption of the brain’s blood supply, causing difficulty walking, talking and comprehending. Paralysis of limbs or the face is also common. A person experiencing a stroke may also exhibit a loss of balance, lightheadedness or vertigo
  • Post-concussion syndrome: Often characterized as the persistence of symptoms weeks or months after the injury that caused the concussion. Common symptoms include headache and dizziness.
Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center
200 South Orange Avenue
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-7000
RWJ Balance & Hearing Center
2 Hamilton Health Place
Hamilton Township, NJ 08690
(609) 245-7390
Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5000
Community Medical Center
99 Highway 37 West
Toms River, NJ 08755
(732) 557-8000
RWJ University Hospital Rahway
865 Stone Street
Rahway, NJ 07065
(732) 381-4200
Jersey City Medical Center's Ambulatory Care Center
395 Grand Street
Jersey City, NJ 07304
(201) 915-2410
RWJ University Hospital Hamilton
1 Hamilton Health Place
Hamilton, NJ 08690
(609) 586-7900
Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus
600 River Avenue
Lakewood, NJ 08701
(732) 363-1900
RWJ Rehabilitation Lawrenceville
4152 Quakerbridge Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
(609) 245-7420

Balance Treatment & Care

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