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Balance Disorders

A balance disorder is a condition that causes dizziness or unsteadiness, and can be associated with vertigo, nausea, vision problems, fatigue, tinnitus, falls and hearing loss. The brain controls balance using feedback received from the inner ear, eyes, and sensors in the joints, muscles and tendons that sense position or movement. Conditions affecting one or more parts of this balance control system can cause a balance disorder.

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital's Balance Disorders and Ataxia Service specialises in balance disorders, including those of a central and peripheral vestibular origin, providing diagnosis and/or management. The service caters for common balance disorders such as intractable BPPV, migrainous vertigo and vestibular neuritis, as well as more complex diseases such as the cerebellar ataxias, multiple system atrophy (particularly of the cerebellar type), oculomotor disorders and peripheral vestibulopathies.

This presentation on Neuro-otology Testing, by Brooke Paisley (Manager of Audiology, Speech and Balance Services at the Eye and Ear) looks at neuro-otology testing for diagnosis and rehabilitation at the Eye and Ear.

The following video, 'An Approach to the Vertiginous Patient for the General Practitioner' is presented by Dr David Szmulewicz, Head of the Balance Disorders & Ataxia Service at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

Dr Szmulewicz has also delivered the a presentation on 'An Approach to the Dizzy Patient' at the Eye and Ear's Emergency Workshop training and demonstration day for external clinicians.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of vertigo, usually causing intense, brief episodes of dizziness or vertigo associated with moving the head. In the following videos produced by praxhub*, Dr Szmulewicz presents a neuro-otologist's quick guide for GPs on BPPV (16 minutes) and an abbreviated version (4 minutes). Password 1234 to play.

*We partner with praxhub so that GPs can earn RACGP and ACCRM CPD points for watching Eye and Ear videos via the free praxhub portal. You must be a medical practitioner registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).