Archive for May, 2009

A Familiar Story of Labyrinthitis

If you suffer from labyrinthitis, or inflammation of the inner ear usually caused by a virus or head injury, here is a story that you will be able to relate to.

Ilia’s Story:

JHU and the Increased Risk of Falling in Dizzy Patients

A three-year long study conducted at Johns Hopkins University revealed that individuals with symptoms of vestibular disorders are 12 times more likely to fall than asymptomatic individuals. This study also revealed that 85% of individuals over the age of 80 had a balance problem and that individuals with diabetes are 70% more likely to suffer from vestibular problems. This study also stresses the importance of vestibular rehabilitation in the treatment process.

Please follow the link below for the news article:

A Quick Survey for Dizzy Patients

Dizzy patients, come hither!!!

This simple 10 question survey is designed with the intent of getting to know our audience. Please help us ensure that our blog is relevant to our viewers – we want to keep you coming back!

Click Here to take survey

Happy Memorial Day!

Wishing all a Happy Memorial Day from the LifeStyle family!!!

Preventing Dizzy Patients from Falling

The Mayo Clinic Vestibular/Balance Center published a great list of  “Safety Tips to Prevent Falling”*, which will be helpful for patients dealing with dizzy and balance disorders.

  • Remove all throw rugs and make sure all electrical and phone cords are tucked out of the way.
  • In rooms that have wall-to-wall carpeting, make sure that the carpet is secured to the floor and there are no wrinkles or raised areas.
  • Install safety rails for the toilet that are attached with the same bolts that hold the seat in place. Also, installing a raised toilet seat will make getting up from the toilet easier.
  • Install safety grab bars on the bathtub and on the bathtub wall and shower wall. Do not use towel bars or soap dishes. They are not anchored well enough and may pull off the wall.
  • Place a nonskid pad or strips in the bottom of the bathtub.
  • Use a shower chair to sit in the shower or a bath bench to sit in the bathtub, instead of standing in the shower or sitting on the bottom of the tub.
  • Purchase a kit that can be installed in place of a standard showerhead, to convert it to a handheld showerhead.
  • Sit when shaving, brushing teeth, fixing hair, or putting on makeup. Use a tabletop mirror or install an extra long mirror over the sink so it can be used while standing or sitting.
  • Use caution when walking from one surface to another, such as from the carpeted hall to the tile floor in the bathroom.
  • When moving from a lying down to a standing position, sit up first and stay there a minute or two. Rise slowly and stand still for a few seconds before trying to walk.
  • Arrange items in kitchen cupboards so that frequently used items are within easy reach.
  • A countertop toaster oven may be safer than leaning over and trying to reach into a regular oven.
  • Make sure that all stairs are well lit and free of clutter.
  • If it is difficult to see the edge of the stairs, apply brightly colored tape to the edge, or paint the edge a bright color.
  • Always use the railings when going up or down stairs. It is best to have railings on both sides of the stairs. If there is no railing, at least place hands on the wall while going up or down the stairs.
  • Use night lights in your bedroom
  • Place a light near the bedside for getting up during the night.
  • Try to sit on furniture that is firm, high, and has armrests to assist when standing.
  • Consider purchasing a cordless phone so that it is not necessary to get up from your seat to answer the phone.
  • Consider an emergency response system. These are available at minimal cost through many local hospitals and medical centers.


Testimonial to Vestibular Rehabilitation

“When I came last month in March, I had difficulty going out alone, afraid to get on the train, for fear of falling. I also couldn’t turn in bed without the room spinning or get up from a sitting or sleeping position without being light-headed.

Now I’m going into the city to shop and have started my spring cleaning. My home is clean again. I feel great.” – C.T.

Say this five times fast: Saccadic Fixator

One of the machines that we use in our office for most of our vestibular patients is the Wayne Saccadic Fixator. This machine is placed on the wall and consists of three concentric circles of 33 lights.
Wayne Saccadic Flexor

Wayne Saccadic Flexor

The term “saccadic” is defined as a fast movement of the eye. This machine works on eye-hand coordination, reaction times, and spatial integration – which is the most important thing for individuals with vestibular disorders.

When turned on, the flashing lights will randomly illuminate as the touch-sensitive lights are pressed. In addition to the flashing light, we have the patients stand on a balance platform, the Kinetic Awareness Trainer, to additionally work on their balance. Not only does the Saccadic Fixator train your brain, it will strengthen your lower body as well!

For more information:

Fixing Dizziness News Report

In 2008, ABC7 Chicago Healthbeat did a news story on “Fixing Dizziness” and Michele was featured. How cool! She did a fantastic job of showcasing what vestibular rehab therapy can do for dizzy patients. Check it out!

Another Dizzy Read

This morning I came across “Dizzy: What You Need to Know About Managing and Treating Balance Disorders” by Jack Wazen and Deborah Mitchell. It’s an easy read for the summer months ahead but from the excerpts I’ve read, it’s also very interesting. Wazen and Mitchell give countless real world examples and case studies in this book, to which dizzy patients will be able to relate.

Check out the excerpts at:,M1


Progress Report

The most satisfying part of working for a balance center is seeing the progress that each patient makes.

K. came to the balance center for severe dizziness and imbalance. Both of his inner ears had been affected – one ear suffered side effects after being injected with gentamicin for an ear infection and the other ear he had nerves sectioned through surgery.

During his initial consultation, K. discussed how he had become dependent upon family members to go anywhere around town because his balance was so poor and he was so uneasy on his feet. He was skeptical about vestibular therapy but felt it was his last hope of independent living.

Two months of therapy later, and consistently doing his home exercises, K. is taking the city bus to and from the center by himself. He is still a little wobbly from time to time but he has much better awareness and control of his surroundings. K. improves with every therapy session and his self confidence in public places has vastly improved.