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Balance Disorders

Before you read the following information, it is important to know that if you have any worrying symptoms, you need to consult your GP, who can assess you and either prescribe treatment or refer you to a specialist.

A balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel dizzy or unsteady and can be associated with vertigo (spinning sensation), nausea, vision problems, fatigue, tinnitus (ringing or other noise in the ears), 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 following information provides a brief explanation of the mechanisms, symptoms and causes of balance disorders, as well as balance disorder treatments, lifestyle modifications and research.

If you are referred to The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital to see a specialist by your GP or other healthcare professional, it will also help you prepare for an appointment at the Balance Disorders and Ataxia Service.

We would like to thank Tamar Black, who has generously supported the development of this patient information resource.

You can listen to an interview with Dr David Szmulewicz on ABC radio discussing balance disorders.

How does the balance system work?
How do I know if I have a balance disorder?
What causes balance disorders?
What are some types of balance disorders?
How is a balance disorder diagnosed?
What can I expect when I visit the Eye and Ear for a balance disorder?
How are balance disorders treated?
What can I do to make living with a balance disorder easier?
What balance disorder research is conducted at the Eye and Ear?
What is the Epley Omniax Positioning System?
Information for referring clinicians