Archive for June, 2009

Books to Read

Some books to read for dizziness, inner ear disorders and Meniere’s Syndrome. Including books giving overviews of vestibular disorders, doctor’s tips on methods of learning to live with vestibular conditions, a nurses viewpoint on how to adapt to vestibular conditions, and a book covering strategies of dealing with Meniere’s Disease.

Finding the Right Doctor

One of the most important aspects of vestibular rehabilitation is having a doctor/healthcare provider that you trust. Vestibular disorders are incredibly difficult to deal with as it is, having a professional you can go to when your symptoms increase or you are having a rough day is important.

Here are 3 tips on what you should look for in choosing a doctor.


It is clear that if you and your doctor are going to problem-solve and work towards achieving quality of life for you within the framework of your…illness, you must be able to communicate with each other.

  • There must be an ease and comfort when you talk.
  • The doctor must be willing to listen to your concerns, be open to all of your questions and be candid, yet caring with his/her responses.
  • The rapport you have established must be completely based on trust.

 You must trust you will be heard, trust that his/her decisions are sound, and trust your options will be fully explained to you.


A longer-than-acceptable wait is understandable when it occurs rarely, but if it is the norm or if the entire office operation seems chaotic, that is not the convenient situation which a patient needs.

  • Is the time you spend in the waiting room within what you consider reasonable limits?
  • How long it takes to get an appointment
  • Can you easily get a phone message to your doctor and does your doctor respond in a timely fashion?
  • Confidence

    There is no other way to say it – your doctor must exude confidence and be conversant, having knowledge and experience. 

    • Your doctor must leave you feeling that your health matters are under control.
    • You must have confidence in what your doctor says today and in what your doctor expects will happen tomorrow.

    The confidence you have in your doctor is directly proportional to how compliant you will be with your treatment plan.

    YOUR Vestibular Disorder Story!

    This blog was designed to provide helpful resources for vestibular disorder sufferers and their supporters. We are always blogging about our experiences and our patient’s experiences or sharing a story that may be helpful to you…and now we want to hear from YOU about YOUR experiences.

    When did you first experience your vestibular disorder, what were your symptoms, what were the emotional/physical tolls that the vestibular disorder took on your life? What types of treatments have you done and what has/has not worked? What support have you received? What type of support are you looking for?

    Feel free to share as much/as little as you like in the comments section. Often times you will meet someone through a forum like this who has similar experiences as you! Email pals have formed through forums just like this one.

    BPPV: Diagnosis and Management Research Article

    A study done in 2003 showed that over 90% of patients with BPPV can be successfully treated with different manoeuvres, such as Dix-Hallpike, Semont, and Epley. This article gives a great overview of the different manoeuvres as well as other options for the 10% of patients that are not successfully treated. Also included in this study are the initial diagnoses and a great background on vestibular physiology and pathophysiology of BPPV.

    Help Prepare a Cookbook for Meniere’s Diets

    One of the top treatments suggested for Meniere’s Disease is a diet with low-salt content. On one of the Meniere’s Disease forums, I found a fun project for anyone who would like to be involved. Meniere’s Resources (link provided below) is putting together a cookbook for those on low salt and gluten free diets.

    If you have recipes, or would like to help out editing or putting together other aspects of the book, contact:,19208.0.html

    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.