Posts Tagged ‘children’

Recognizing Children’s Vestibular Problems

As stated in previous blog entries, children can easily have symptoms of vestibular disorders without their parents knowledge. Whether it’s because of a child’s lack of ability to communicate the disorder or the reduced likelihood of children having vestibular disorders than adults  is questionable. What we do want to know is how to recognize these disorders as early as possible. If you suspect your child may have a vestibular disorder:

1) Notice how your child reacts to typical childhood activities on the playground. If he’s uncomfortable with movement, he may resist rides down the slide or opportunities to swing. If he needs intense movement he may never seem satisfied with how high he goes or how fast he spins.

2) Think about your child’s reaction to new situations involving movement. If she’s uncomfortable with movement, she may avoid the situation or move extremely slowly. Children who under respond to movement, may move too quickly, and appear risky in their behavior.

3) Reflect on how your child reacts to elevators. Children who are uncomfortable with movement may refuse to go on escalators or elevators. Some children experience nausea when riding in the car.

4) Observe your child’s behavior while going up and down stairs or stepping off curbs. If he holds too tightly to the banister or appears overly serious, he may have gravitational insecurity.

5) Recognize that a child may have a vestibular sensory problem if she seems to crave excessive movement, such as jumping, bouncing, spinning or rocking. She may twirl repeatedly but never appear dizzy.

6) Talk to your child’s school about her behavior in class. Ask the teacher if she fidgets frequently. Many children with vestibular problems need to move frequently to feel where they are in space.

Balance Disorder Symptoms: Adults + Kids

Here is a good list of signs/symptoms that can occur because of balance disorders. Please note that just because you have these symptoms doesn’t mean you have a balance disorder.


  • Ear fullness, pain, pressure
  • Feelings of false movement or spinning
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Hearing loss, ringing (tinnitus), sound distortion, sound sensitivity, inability to determine sound direction
  • Motion intolerance or sickness
  • Difficulty in the dark
  • Cotton in the head or ears feeling
  • Blurred, bouncing and/or double vision, trouble watching motion, jerking vision, difficulty focusing, difficulty looking through binoculars, cameras, microscopes, and/or telescopes, difficulty with glare
  • Clumsiness, difficulty walking, difficulty turning, feeling of walking through the floor…

Symptoms that kids with vestibular disorders often display. Obviously, these changes in a child’s behavior can be accounted for in many different ways, but if children are displaying a few of these symptoms, it may be good to bring him/her to the doctor just to check on it. Better safe than sorry!

  • Clinging to a parent
  • Crying
  • Fear of being alone
  • Quiet and withdrawn
  • Seeks reassurance
  • Staggering around
  • Sudden falls

For a complete list, please follow this link:

Parenting While Dizzy

Being dizzy is difficult enough without factoring in supporting and caring for a family. The symptoms of vestibular disorders are not conducive to having children running around or crying babies who need to be picked up. Even a task such as leaning down to pick up a baby could cause severe vertigo attacks to those with vestibular disorders.

Here are some tips to consider to alleviate the added stress of raising children with vestibular disorders:

  • Make sure that you are sitting while holding an infant. People tend to look down at the infant, which can initiate vertigo in some.
  • Join groups to meet other parents. You can form relationships with other parents who can help out during rough days and vice versa – you drive the carpool on those days you feel good, they can take over on the days you don’t.
  • Join a support group. You may meet other parents who are dealing with similar issues or patients who have dealt with vestibular disorders while raising children.
  • Place things around the house conveniently for you to reach. If looking up and down triggers vertigo and dizziness, place things that you use on a consistent basis at eye level (ie. baby bottles, keys).
  • Keep a routine. This way you can figure out what works for you and to filter out what triggers your disorder.

Children and Their Unique Balance Disorders

Childhood vestibular disorders are extremely rare; in a survey done in 2005, out of an estimated 16,000 children seen at a hospital, only 119 of their chief complaints was of vertigo. Of these 119 children though, “benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood, migraine-associated dizziness, vestibular neuronitis, and otitis media-related dizziness” were the reasons behind the vertigo.

This article discusses otitis-media related vertigo (vertigo resulting from the inflammation of the inner ear) and vestibular neuritis (imbalance due to the inflammation of vestibular nerve), which are also prevalent in adults. This article also discusses two childhood balance disorders that are unique to children: benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood and benign paroxysmal torticollis of infancy.

For more information on BPV:

For more information on BPVI:

Vestibular Disorders & Children

We tend to overlook certain demographics when discussing vestibular disorders, including children. Vestibular disorders are often viewed as disorders that affect only elderly populations. Although children make up a small percentage of the vestibular disorder population, they are often the most difficult to treat.
I came across two great, easy-to-read articles on vestibular disorders in children. *Please note: These are not scientific articles.

1) Vestibular Disorders: Causes and effects of a hidden problem. Jennifer Blomgren.
Details how vestibular disorders can negatively effect children, both physically and emotionally. Gives great insight to the impact on their quality of life.;col1

2) How to Recognize Children’s Vestibular Sense Problems. eHow Health Editor.
Six step to helping you recognize if your child has vestibular disorders.