A Guide to Seeking Professional Help

Experiencing a fall or dizziness can be alarming and potentially dangerous. While occasional mild dizziness might not be a cause for concern, persistent or more severe symptoms should not be ignored. At NB Hearing and Balance, we believe knowledge is the key to timely intervention.

When a Fall or Dizziness Needs Further Investigation

Understanding Dizziness and Balance Disorders

Dizziness can manifest as a range of sensations, from lightheadedness to a spinning sensation (vertigo). Balance disorders involve a feeling of unsteadiness or a sensation of movement while standing still. Both can significantly impact daily life and may indicate underlying health issues.

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention

If these symptoms accompany dizziness or a fall, they warrant immediate medical attention:

  • Severe Headache: A sudden, intense headache along with dizziness could indicate a serious condition such as a stroke or aneurysm.
  • Chest Pain: Dizziness accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, or irregular heartbeat could signal a cardiac issue.
  • Neurological Symptoms: Sudden changes in vision, speech, or motor skills, such as difficulty walking or numbness in the face or limbs, require urgent evaluation.
  • Persistent Vomiting: Severe nausea and vomiting along with dizziness can lead to dehydration and requires medical attention.

When to Schedule a Professional Evaluation

If you experience any of the following, it’s advisable to consult an Audiologist or other recognized balance healthcare professional:

  • Frequent Falls: Regularly losing your balance or falling can indicate underlying problems with your vestibular system (the inner ear balance mechanism) or neurological issues.
  • Prolonged Dizziness: Dizziness lasting more than a few days or recurring frequently should be investigated to rule out chronic conditions such as Meniere’s disease or vestibular neuritis.
  • Ear Symptoms: Hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or a feeling of fullness in the ears accompanying dizziness suggests either a middle or inner ear disorder.
  • Medication Side Effects: If you suspect your dizziness is a side effect of medication, discuss it with your doctor. They may adjust your dosage or prescribe an alternative.

Benefits of Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment of balance disorders can prevent complications and improve your quality of life. Some audiologists and some ENT specialists can perform a series of tests to determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a personalized treatment plan. Treatments may include:

  • Balance Rehabilitation: Specialized exercises to improve balance and reduce dizziness.
  • Medication: To manage symptoms or treat underlying conditions.
  • Counseling: Dizziness that is associated with anxiety can be resolved with specific types of counseling.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Recommendations on diet, exercise, and fall prevention strategies.

How Audiologists and ENTs Can Help

Audiologists and ENT specialists work together to diagnose and treat balance disorders. An audiologist conducts thorough assessments to identify vestibular issues, provide specific rehabilitation and targeted counseling. An ENT can address underlying medical conditions, perform necessary surgeries, or prescribe medications.

Contact Us for Fall Risk Prevention and Support Strategies

Persistent or severe dizziness and frequent falls can be a risk to life and quality of life. Seeking timely professional help ensures that you receive the appropriate care and can significantly reduce the risk of further complications. If you are experiencing these symptoms, schedule a consultation at any of our NB Hearing & Balance offices in Cape Town.