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Balance Problems and Neurological Disorders

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Neurological disorders that are treated by ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists include a group of conditions that affect balance. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves that carry messages between them. Conditions that affect your balance can cause problems in many aspects of your everyday life. The ENT team at University of Miami Health System are experienced in diagnosing and managing these conditions, so you can get back to living a more active life.

We provide diagnosis, treatment, and management of a wide variety of balance problems, including:

  • Acoustic neuroma: benign tumor on the nerve connecting the ear to the brain
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): calcium deposits in the inner ear
  • Cochlear hydrops: affects balance of the inner ear
  • Meniere’s disease: disorder of the inner ear
  • Superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome (SSCD): thinning or absent temporal bone of the inner ear
  • Vestibular neuronitis: inflammation of the inner ear

Because the inner ear affects the body’s balance, these conditions can cause you to have balance problems. Other symptoms may include:

  • Ringing in your ears
  • Feeling like you are spinning (vertigo)
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears
  • Partial or complete hearing loss

Why Choose UHealth?

The Department of Otolaryngology ranks No. 9 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the department’s dedication to excellence in research, patient care and outcomes. The experts in the UHealth Ear Institute provide comprehensive and innovative care of ear, hearing, and balance disorders. This includes the Children’s Hearing Program and the hereditary deafness clinical and research group, where more than 15 percent of the known genetic hearing loss mutations have been discovered.

World-class care in an academic health system. We are recognized throughout South Florida and the world as a leader in treating conditions and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Backed by one of the nation’s top universities, our team uses the latest technologies and research-driven expertise to provide you with superior, personalized care and the best outcomes.

Vestibular balance program. At the Ear Institute, we have state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose, treat, and assess your vestibular/balance system structures and their function. Our vestibular balance program has had great success in helping people with balance problems live a healthy, more carefree life.

Vestibular rehabilitation program. The Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Miami Hospital is pleased to have developed a specialized vestibular rehabilitation program to assist patients with vestibular disorders. Through participation in our rehab program, you may be able to avoid or reduce the frequency of falls related to vestibular disorders. You’ll achieve an improved overall quality of life and more independence as you gain confidence.

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Treatments

  • Motion Sickness Medication 

    This can help reduce the spinning sensation and help lessen nausea or vomiting.

  • Anti-nausea Medication 

    This can help reduce feelings of nausea and vomiting during an episode of vertigo.

  • Rehabilitation

    Vestibular rehabilitation therapy may be able to help improve your balance.

  • Hearing Aid

    If you have experienced hearing loss, a hearing aid can improve your ability to hear.

  • Meniett Device 

    For cases of vertigo that are difficult to treat, your ENT specialist may recommend a Meniett device, an at-home treatment. This treatment involves applying pressure to the middle ear to improve fluid exchange. A device called a Meniett pulse generator applies pulses of pressure to your ear canal through a ventilation tube.

  • Vestibular Nerve Section 

    This surgical procedure involves cutting the balance nerve. This is done when other attempts to control recurrent vertigo attacks have failed. This procedure prevents the abnormal balance signals – caused by Meniere’s disease – from reaching the brain and causing symptoms.

  • Labyrinthectomy

    This surgical procedure involves removing the balance organs of the inner ear in an attempt to cease all abnormal balance signals from reaching the brain and causing symptoms. As this procedure destroys hearing as well, it is only performed when there is no useful hearing in the ear. 

  • Transtympanic Injections of Steroids and Gentamicin 

    These techniques are used to deliver medicines directly to the inner ear without exposing the entire body to the same medications. This is done in an office setting by making a small incision in the eardrum and injecting the medicine into the middle ear, where it then is absorbed into the inner ear across thin dividing membranes. Steroids are generally used to decrease inflammation, while the gentamicin is used to reduce or eliminate the signals emanating from the balance organs of the inner ear (similar to labyrinthectomy described above) while attempting to preserve hearing.


Tests

  • Hearing Test  

    Your ENT specialist will likely recommend a hearing test (audiometry), in which a variety of tones and sounds are played into each of your ears, one at a time, to check for hearing loss.

  • Balance Test 

    Tests that check the function of the inner ear allow your ENT specialist to determine the extent of your trouble keeping your balance.

  • Scans 

    Certain imaging scans — such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — may be used to help your ENT doctor rule out other conditions that can cause balance problems and pinpoint your diagnosis.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.