Vestibular Hypofunction

Vestibular Hypofunction

25 Nov 2022

By Sreenivasa Murthy TM

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  The inner ear’s organs  are basically organs of balance and are more commonly referred to as vestibular organs. Vestibular difficulties occur when one of the organs does not function as normally as the other does. Any injury, viral infection, or autoimmune condition, altered blood flow, medication (ototoxicity) could be the causes. Hence, anyone can experience these problems, and there is no particular reason as to who will be impacted by this condition. When a person is affected by the condition, the main issue that needs attention is the reason for its occurrence. As some uncertain factors are responsible for this health issue, it is quite understandable that it can affect people of any age range.

Vestibular hypofunction can either be acute, sub-acute, or chronic, depending on the etiology. Most frequently, the presenting feature of the body will become unbalanced when the inner ear is affected. A person affected by this disease typically experiences giddiness or dizziness, blurred vision when moving their head, and an imbalance that makes them feel uneasy performing daily tasks. Along with that, in an acute instance, the patient may also feel severe giddiness, vomiting, and instability. The difficulty tends to get worse at night.

This is not a preventable problem, as the causes are varied and can affect anyone. The only cause which to a certain extent is in our control is management of blood flow by following a healthy lifestyle, avoiding alcohol, smoking, taking medication in case of hypercholesterolemia and such. They can be treated according to professional recommendations. In this case, patients are advised medication and rest to manage the initial symptoms based on the contributing causes and the severity of the symptoms. Usually, by following the recommended measures, problems could be resolved in a couple of weeks. In case the condition arises due to use of ototoxic drugs, controlling the symptoms and preventing side effects might require  professional help and altering of ototoxic drug with another medication. Additionally, some people require more than just medication to recover; and are advised to participate in rehabilitative exercises in order to return to their usual lives.

The duration of treatment is determined by the cause of the problem, whether it affected one or both sides of the ear, and maintaining rehabilitative activities. Despite being a serious disease, 70 per cent of individuals often recover successfully. Sometimes a person may experience problems in the long run if both sides are involved and have been present for a long time. People can usually manage this problem with timely expert advice and subsequent rehabilitative practices.

Click here to see this article in New Indian Express

(The writer is a consultant ENT Surgeon, Manipal Hospital, Yeshwanthpur)

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