Frequently Asked Questions
19. What research is being done to help treat and prevent balance disorders?
Scientists are working to understand the complex interactions between the brain and the part of the inner ear responsible for balance. They are also studying the effectiveness of certain exercises as a treatment option for balance disorders.
An NIDCD-supported clinical trial in benign paroxysmal positioning vertigo (BPPV) showed that repositioning maneuvers work well, and offered clinicians a range of choices in selecting the treatment best suited to each individual’s unique needs.
NIDCD-funded researchers have created a “virtual reality” grocery store. This virtual store is a computer-simulated environment that seems to be a physical place in the real world. It is designed so people with balance disorders can safely walk on a treadmill as they practice looking for items on store shelves. The goal is to help reduce a person's dizziness in confusing environments.
NIDCD-supported scientists are also studying the use of a vestibular implant to stop a Ménière’s attack by restoring normal electrical activity in the vestibular nerve. This nerve conveys balance information to the brain. The device uses the same technology found in a cochlear implant, a medical device that currently provides a sense of sound to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.