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Key Facts

1. Vestibular disorders are a major cause of feeling dizzy and off balance – a common health complaint with significant social, economic and personal costs.

Individuals talk of experiencing whirling sensations such as spinning, light headedness, giddiness, dizzy spells, unsteadiness and loss of balance.

It is estimated 5% of the population will experience vestibular vertigo episodes.


2. The underlying causes of these symptoms are notoriously difficult to diagnose.

A Vestibular disorder occurs where temporary or permanent damage to the vestibular system results in dysfunction. This damage can be caused by many things. A blow to the head or ear; excess fluid in the inner ear; the displacement of inner ear crystals; malformation of the inner ear structure; disease or infection; toxic chemicals; an immunological response; a membrane tear; a tumorous growth etc. There may be complications from allergies, autoimmune disorders, ageing etc.

A definite diagnosis takes time. Episodes can come quickly, last short or long periods, vanish and reoccur.


3. Vertigo is a special type of dizziness

Vertigo is where you feel the world is spinning around you- much like getting off amerry-go-round and trying to stand upright. Vertigo arises from a disturbance in either the balance sensory organs of the inner ear or parts of the brain and sensory nerve pathways.


4. The Vestibular System together with vision, hearing and muscle feedback helps control your sense of balance and enables human movement.

Together with the cochlea it forms the inner ear. If the semi circular canals or Otolith organs of the Vestibular system are damaged, a person will have difficulty with balance, equilibrium and orientation to their surroundings. Feelings of nausea, disorientation, fullness of the ear and loss of hearing can accompany vertigo.


5. Individuals of all ages can experience vestibular symptoms.

Whilst vest symptoms are more common in adults, younger people can also be affected. There is evidence that a higher proportion of females than males experience Meniere’s disease.


6. Inner ear Vestibular symptoms are distressing for individuals, life changing and often chronic in nature.


7. Individuals need information, understanding and support.


This is the role of Whirled Foundation and we invite your support in providing this assistance.

We provide information and assistance to individuals. At the same time we seek to raise community and health professional awareness of what can be done to assist individuals with a vestibular disorder. We encourage collaborative sharing of information.

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Whirled Foundation membership has great benefits and puts you in touch with others living with vestibular disorders around Australia and the world.

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