Understanding How the Inner Ear Helps You Balance

Balance keeps us upright. It also helps us to move, walk and run without falling. But how does balance work? Balance is controlled through signals sent from our eyes, inner ear, joints and muscles to our brain. Our brain then deciphers these signals to produce balance and equilibrium.

Our inner ear plays a vital part in our equilibrium. It has 3 semicircular canals, each containing tiny hairs, crystals and fluid. Each canal senses a different movement: up-and-down, head tilting and side-to-side. Nerves then carry these signals to the brain where the eyes, joints and muscles are also sending their signals.

Have you experienced sitting in a parked car and the strange sensation that happens when the car next to you is backing up? In this instance, the eyes have signaled that you are moving. However, the inner ear and your body tells your brain that you are still. The brain receives this conflicting data and decides what is true.

Inner ear and balance problems are caused by the brain receiving conflicting or wrong signals and possibly misinterpreting them. This can result in some of the following symptoms:

  • Balance dysfunction

  • Vertigo or dizziness

  • Gait abnormalities

  • Rapid, involuntary eye movement

  • A suspected pathology or disease of the vestibular system

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend you to contact us to set up a comprehensive examination. During that examination, one of our highly trained physicians will conduct a balance test which will assess where in the balance system the problems are occurring, what is causing your symptoms, any changes occurring in the balance function and more. If needed, we will then meet with you to set up a treatment plan specifically designed to fit you and your needs. Call us today and let us take care of you!