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What is Vestibular Hypofunction? Actor Varun Dhawan Diagnosed

Dr Rohit Bhaskar
Dr Rohit Bhaskar
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Vestibular hypofunction is a partial or complete deficit of function of the peripheral or central vestibular system. While Vestibular hypofunction may have traumatic, toxic, infectious, genetic, and neurodegenerative causes. Your ear is a complex system of bone and cartilage. There is a semicircular canal that is filled with fluid. The position of the fluid changes with movement. A sensor in the ear then sends the information to your brain to contribute to your sense of balance. With vestibular hypofunction, the balance part of the inner ear does not work properly. This can occur on one side (unilateral hypofunction), or on both sides of the head. It has many direct and indirect consequences on functioning and daily life. The disorder happens when the part of the inner ear fails to work properly and sends error messages to the brain.

Vestibular Hypofunction Consequences

The most frequent consequences include chronic dizziness with or without vertigo, oscillopsia, and problems with balance, walking, and driving.

  • For example, patients may not be able to read signs while moving
  • May fall more often
  • Have difficulties walking in the dark or on uneven surfaces
  • Vestibular Hypofunction impairs spatial memory, learning, and wayfinding
  • Vestibular Hypofunction effects on higher cognitive functions.

Persons with bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction are more severely affected than those with unilateral Vestibular Hypofunction.

Symptoms of Vestibular Hypofunction

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Changes in your heart's rhythm

How to improve vestibular function?

In a sitting position, bend your head down to look at the floor then up to look at the ceiling.

Lead your head with your eyes focusing on the floor and the ceiling.

Repeat this 10 times. Stop and wait for symptoms to resolve, about 30 seconds.

Repeat the entire process 2 more times.

Physiotherapy Treatment of Vestibular Hypofunction

The goals of physical therapy intervention are:

(1) decrease the patient's disequilibrium (sense of being off-balance) and oscillopsia (visual blurring during head movement)

(2) improve the patient's functional balance especially during ambulation

(3) improve the patient's ability to see clearly during head movement

(4) improve the patient's overall general physical condition

(5) enable the patient to return to a more normal level of activity and participation in society

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