Posted by: seattledizzygroup | September 19, 2013

Balance Awareness Facts, Figures & Trivia

BAW 2013 photo

September 16-22, 2013 is Balance Awareness Week!

The goal of Balance Awareness Week is to help people recognize the symptoms of a vestibular disorder for a quick diagnosis in order to receive effective treatment.  Find out how you can help make a difference, raise awareness, and support VEDA’s efforts to “Defeat Dizziness” (

The word “vestibular” refers to the inner ear balance system.  To achieve good physical balance, we rely on our brain, eyes, inner ear, and muscular-skeletal system to work in harmony.  Balance is easily taken for granted. However, when the fragile vestibular organs of the inner ear are damaged by illness or injury anyone can lose the ability to balance.  Learn more at: and

How many people have vestibular disorders?

Adult vestibular disorders are typically under diagnosed and undertreated. An estimated 35.4% of US adults aged 40 years and older (109 million Americans) experience vestibular dysfunction at some point in their lives; a percentage of this group develop a chronic vestibular disorder.

What are typical symptoms and signs of a vestibular disorder?

The primary symptoms of a vestibular disorder include dizziness, vertigo, and disequilibrium.

Dizziness is a sensation of lightheadedness, faintness, or unsteadiness.

Vertigo is the perception of movement of the self or surrounding objects and has a rotational, spinning component. Dizziness can be a symptom of many diseases and disorders, but frequent episodes of vertigo —whether lasting only for a few seconds or days on end—are a primary sign of vestibular dysfunction.

Disequilibrium simply means unsteadiness and imbalance that is often accompanied by spatial disorientation. A person with a vestibular disorder may frequently stumble and have difficulty walking straight or turning a corner.

People with vestibular disorders may also be challenged with any of the following possible symptoms:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Hearing loss and/or tinnitus (i.e. ringing in the ears)
  • Visual-spatial problems resulting in excessive clumsiness, frequent falls, problems with eye-hand and eye-foot coordination, and difficulty moving in the dark
  • Visual problems (i.e. eyestrain, jumping vision), including difficulty reading (trouble tracking printed text)
  • Cognitive impacts (aka “brain fog”), including difficulty concentrating, memory issues, and impaired mental stamina
  • Increased levels of anxiety
  • Fatigue
How does imbalance affect quality of life?

An estimated 33% of all adults with chronic imbalance experience problems performing basic activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Children with vestibular disorders can face impairments of motor development and balance and learning challenges at school.

Vestibular/balance disorders are an invisible chronic illness. Because these disorders are “invisible,” others frequently assume the patient is overreacting or faking their symptoms.

How do vestibular disorders impact health care systems?

In the US, medical care for patients with chronic balance disorders exceeds $1 billion per year.

An often successful treatment is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT), which has been shown to be an important part of the management of vestibular patients and can help to achieve an improvement of 70-80%.


Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night” is reportedly a representation of the dizziness he experienced due to Ménière’s disease.

Pop star Janet Jackson suffers from Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV).

William Shatner was struck with Tinnitus as a result of a special effects blast during the filming of “Star Trek.”

To learn more about vestibular disorders, see VEDA’s Educational Resources:

For more information, contact the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) at or call (800) 837-8428.

Facts, Figures & Trivia from: and


  1. More Trivia: Singer/Musician Ryan Adams and Singer/Actress Kristin Chenoweth suffer from Meniere’s Disease

  2. Sorry to miss the walk on Saturday!! This is a great post – love the symptoms and then the fun use of celebrities. Nice job! 🙂 Good luck on Saturday!

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Seattle Dizzy Group

Providing support & community for people living with chronic dizziness & imbalance -- in Seattle & beyond

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