Vestibular Audiology is a little-known discipline in healthcare. We know that. And it’s always been an uphill battle for Vestibular Treatment clinics like ours to educate people on how we’re different from ENTs, Neurologists, Physical Therapists, or General Physicians. While all of these doctors can treat a couple of sources of dizziness, only Vestibular Audiologists specialize entirely in how we balance and can fix a lot of vestibular dysfunctions that cause dizziness.
So here’s a peek at what it’s like to get dizziness treatment from the Vestibular Audiologists at the Dizzy & Vertigo Institute of Los Angeles.
There are three main pillars that guide our treatment philosophy at D&V: hope, kindness, and collaboration.
Hope. It is the foundation of our doctor-patient relationship. Where there is hope, there is a will to continue fighting and finding solutions. Many dizzy patients like yourself have been to multiple doctors and seen no results, leaving their hope in shambles. Our first mission is to restore that sense of hope once again by showing there are routes to overcoming your symptoms with updated scientific processes.
Kindness. Each patient that walks through our doors is a unique case with a differing background. We refrain from any assumptions and will listen to you with open ears. Vestibular dysfunction can be frustrating when few people around you understand what you’re going through. But we understand. And treating your situation with kindness is our top priority.
Collaboration. When you come to our clinic, your symptoms become our symptoms and we’ll work with you until we find the right route to resolving your condition. It’s a collaboration between us and you. In some cases, we’re not the specialist you need. But the relationship doesn’t end there. We will tap into our network of specialists to get you the right help for your condition. And we will hold your hand through this entire process.
Step 1: A Conversation
Every patient visit starts with an in-depth consultation between one of our vestibular specialists and you.
We need to understand your case history. What doctors have you visited before? Have you tried any treatments? What’s worked and what hasn’t?
We need to understand your symptoms. Dizziness is an umbrella term, which means we need to drill down exactly on the symptoms you’re experiencing. How frequent are the symptoms? Are there specific things that trigger your symptoms? Is dizziness constant or unexpected?
As we’re conversing with you about your situation, we’re listening for certain things that inform us of what might be going wrong. We need to rule in and rule out certain disorders. So the more detail you can tell us about what you’re going through, the better.
By the end of our consultation, we’ll have a plan for the next steps. This includes an idea of the sources of your symptoms, the diagnostic tests we need to run on you, and what the scope of this treatment might be for you.
Step 2: Diagnostic Testing
After the consultation, we’ll schedule an appointment with you to run tests. This is when we get scientific. We’ve invested heavily in the latest vestibular diagnostic equipment because it provides better results and better data on what’s going wrong in your vestibular system.
Some of the tests include:
- VEMP – Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential testing (cervical and ocular)
- EcochG – Electrocochleography testing
- ABR – Auditory Brainstem Response testing
- CDP – Computerized Dynamic Posturography
- VNG – Videonystagmography
- VHIT – Video Head Impulse Testing
- Neuro-Vestibular Test Battery to include Advanced Rotational Chair Studies
- Diagnostic audiological evaluation (otoscopy, tympanometry, air & bone conduction, and speech)
Vestibular treatment is a science that requires high-tech machinery. This is why if you’re dizzy, then you need to see a Vestibular Audiologist with the right equipment to get the job done correctly.
The sources of dizziness problems can be nearly invisible without state-of-the-art equipment. Throughout these tests, we’re collecting data at a microscopic level, looking for minor dysfunctions in how your body perceives equilibrium and how well the vestibular instruments in your inner ear are working.
By the end of our diagnostic testing (which could take anywhere from 2-4 hours), we’ll know what the source of your dizzy symptoms is. And at that point, we design a Vestibular Rehabilitation program specific to your situation.
Step 3: Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (or Vestibular Retraining as it is sometimes called) uses a number of tools to include visual stimulation exercises and equipment to retrain the body, the brain, the inner ear, and the eyes to properly communicate. We’re retraining the parts of the body that contribute to your balance to work in harmony again.
The overarching types of VRT treatments include:
- Visual and optokinetic motion desensitization – Strengthens the visual and vestibular reflex
- Sensory reweighting – Helps the brain integrate sensory information properly
- Habituation – Building up a patient’s internal defenses against dizziness triggers.
- Balance Training – Strengthening the muscles used to balance.
- Canalith Repositioning – Re-aligning the inner ear instruments used to detect balance.
VRT is entirely customized to your case. Vestibular Audiologists (like ourselves) create a plan and range of exercises specifically addressing the data collected on your vestibular system.
If everything goes according to plan, VRT promotes the human body’s ability to compensate. Essentially, compensation is the brain’s way of finding “balance shortcuts” to recalibrate your balance.
In normal functioning adults, compensation happens naturally. However, for the dizzy patient, we use VRT to speed up and promote this process of compensation.
Some patients need just one VRT treatment to realign their vestibular system. Others need ongoing maintenance. No matter your case, we’re with you through to the end. And we won’t let up until you’ve regained a sense of normalcy with your balance.
We’re Standing By
We understand how frustrating and frightening it is to live with lingering, constant, or unexpected dizziness. Some of our specialists have even experienced the same symptoms you have.
We have a wealth of knowledge and experience about all things balance-related. And we’re here to help.
If you’re new here and would like to get in contact with us, then please don’t hesitate to call us at (310) 954-2207 or fill out our contact form here.
If you’re not new here and either needed more convincing or wanted to know how we operate, we hope that this did it justice. Of course, if you still need more information from us, call us again at (310) 954-2207 or respond to the email/text messages we’ve sent you.
We hope to help you soon!