Preventing Falls & Preserving Your BalanceWhile hearing loss is one of the most common problems associated with getting older, imbalance and vertigo can sometimes be overlooked in the aging population. Chronic balance disorders affect nearly eight million people in the United States and can contribute to falls, which may lead to serious injuries. In addition, difficulty maintaining balance can also lead to loss of independence and confidence.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV, is the most common condition that causes dizziness in people over the age of 65. BPPV occurs when small calcium carbonate crystals break loose and fall into another part of the inner ear. This leads to abnormal fluid movement and brief but intense sensations of vertigo. Vertiginous attacks associated with BPPV are triggered by specific motions - most commonly when tilting your head back, getting out of bed, looking for something on a low shelf or reaching up in a tall cupboard.

Many people who experience symptoms of BPPV are unaware there is an easy, effective solution. Canolith repositioning is a non-surgical procedure in which the patient’s loose calcium crystals are repositioned to a part of the inner ear where they are either absorbed or no longer cause symptoms. Canolith repositioning is completed through several head maneuvers and results in an 80 percent cure rate for BPPV. The procedure can be repeated if symptoms return.

The benefits from a simple procedure like canolith repositioning are immeasurable. Good balance is important to maintain independence and daily routines, especially with aging. Regaining a sense of control and reducing the fears of motion-provoked vertigo can enable patients to live with less restriction, in addition to reducing the overall fear of falling.
The Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) offers comprehensive vestibular and balance evaluations using specialized equipment and state-of-the-art technology. To make an appointment with a vestibular expert at PEI, call 215.780.3180