Balance Disorders Center | Otolaryngology | Loyola Medicine

Balance Disorders Center

The Balance Disorders Center at Loyola Medicine provides a multidisciplinary approach to caring for patients with dizziness, unsteadiness, vertigo, buzzing in the ears and hearing loss. Many specialists may be involved in the diagnosis and treatment of your balance disorder; your team may include otolaryngologists, otologists, neurologists, neurotologists and physical therapists offering specific expertise in balance disorders, which can be difficult to diagnose. The most common cause of balance disorders is a reaction to medication. However, your balance disorder may have numerous possible causes or be caused by several interacting health problems. 

Loyola’s Balance Disorders Center brings together the diagnostic capabilities and specialists needed to diagnose and treat patients with balance disorders in one convenient location. We provide advanced treatment for balance disorders, including: 

  • Acoustic neuroma — Also known as vestibular schwannoma. A non-cancerous tumor on the nerve from the inner ear to the brain. Pressure from the tumor can cause ringing, hearing loss and unsteadiness.
  • Benign positional vertigo  Also called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Brief periods of varying degrees of dizziness, usually triggered by particular changes in the position of your head.
  • Cholesteatoma  A non-cancerous skin cyst, located in the middle ear. May be congenital or caused by frequent ear infections.
  • Labyrinthitis  Inflammation and swelling of the part of the inner ear responsible for balance. May cause sudden vertigo.
  • Meniere's disease  A disorder of the inner ear causing spontaneous episodes of vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss. Usually affects only one ear.
  • Vertigo  The feeling of rocking or spinning even when you are not moving. 

Loyola’s Balance Disorders Center incorporates an array of customized tests, including:

  • Auditory brainstem response testing (ABR)
  • Computerized dynamic posturography (CDP)
  • CT scan (computed tomography) of the temporal bone
  • Electronystagmography (ENG)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the head
  • Otoacoustic emission testing (OAE)
  • Rotary chair testing
  • Same-day hearing testing
  • Specialized audiology tests

The data from these and other tests are analyzed, and the results are correlated with your medical history and physical examination. Once you have been diagnosed, all medical options are exhausted before pursuing surgical treatment. Loyola’s nonsurgical treatment options include:

  • Gentamicin perfusion  A minimally invasive approach to treating vertigo in patients with Meniere’s disease. A gel antibiotic is deposited into the middle ear and selectively targets the nerve endings causing the vertigo attacks.
  • Particle repositioning maneuvers  Performed in your doctor’s office, these maneuvers are designed to move particles out of the sensitive part of your ear through a series of strategic head movements.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT)  An exercise-based program that can help improve the quality of life for patients with balance disorders by reducing symptoms. The purpose of this treatment is to retrain the brain and desensitize the balance system which provokes symptoms.

A wide variety of surgical treatments are available to treat balance disorders, including:

  • Acoustic neuroma resection
  • Endolymphatic sac decompression
  • Labyrinthectomy
  • Mastoid surgery for cholesteatoma
  • Vestibular nerve section

Your Loyola healthcare team knows that balance disorders have a significant impact on your quality of life and will work with you to find the best possible treatment for your balance disorder. In many cases, your life can be greatly improved by managing the symptoms of your disorder; in other cases, the root cause of your balance issue may need to be treated. At Loyola, you will benefit from the latest and most advanced treatments for balance disorders.