Archive for June 11th, 2009

Non-Technical Vestibular Rehabilitation Equipment

As well as the super expensive diagnostic and rehabilitation treatment tools that I’ve previously discussed, we also use a number of very simple, extremely effective tools and techniques.

One simple tool to use is an object with a marked center. For example, we use a white, circular measuring tape that has a red dot in the center. When the patient is first starting therapy, they will sit in a chair and do different exercises with this object. Exercises will include slowly moving the head back and forth, or up and down, while keeping their eyes focused on the red dot. Exercises progress to include moving the head as well as the object, while keeping their eyes focused on the red dot. As the patient progresses, they will also eventually walk down the hallway while doing the exercises.

Another similar exercise that we have patients do is walking down the hallway with a sheet of paper that contains lines of letters. The patient will walk while reading the letters and turning their head slowly left and right. It causes the patient to learn how to focus their attention on one thing while various external stimuli surround them.

All of these exercises work to re-train the brain and the vestibular system. These exercises should be taught by a trained professional – it is unlikely that your vestibular symptoms will decrease simply by trying these exercises at home by yourself. Although they are simple enough to learn, the trained professional will be able to direct you and correct any wrong movements.

How to Cope with Tinnitus

Some words of wisdom from Stacey Creecy, a young woman who deals with tinnitus. Here are a few tips that helped her while dealing with tinnitus:

1. A fan works wonders. Rather than sitting in silence or trying to sleep with the television on, try a fan. The constant buzzing of the fan drowns out the noise in your ear.

2. Try a radio. It doesn’t work as well while trying to get sleep but any noise is better than none.   

3. Lay on the offending ear. When trying to sleep, I find that mine worsens when I’m lying on the opposite ear. So, I always lay on my right ear, which lessens the noise considerably.

4. No (or limited) alcohol, caffeine and chocolate. Most people who are affected by the disease notice that it worsens when consuming these items. I specifically named chocolate because most chocolate has caffeine in it.

5. Some medical options. Some doctors may prescribe anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication to help ease the “driving me crazy” part of tinnitus. I have not had to do this as keeping busy has lessened the persistence of the tinnitus, for the most part.

3rd Vestibular Support Group Meeting

Keep an eye and ear open for the next Vestibular Support Group meeting held in our office. This group supports patients and families who have been affected by vestibular disorders. We will be announcing the date next week!

Please note that this is a FREE support group. For a vestibular support group near you or online: