Disability insurance carriers often challenge a diagnosis of vestibular dysfunction. How Can Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer Assist You?
As disability attorneys, Dell & Schaefer have represented long term disability claimants that have been unable to work as a result of vestibular dysfunction. Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have an expansive understanding of the significant restrictions and limitations that a person suffering with vestibular dysfunction must live with on a daily basis. We have worked closely with top physicians in order to sufficiently satisfy a disability carrier’s threshold of evidence necessary to prove that a client is disabled by a vestibular dysfunction.
Not everyone suffering from a vestibular dysfunction qualifies for long-term disability benefits, therefore the medical records of each client must be reviewed to determine the level of restrictions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your long-term disability claim. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.
What is vestibular dysfunction?
To understand vestibular dysfunction we must first understand our vestibular system. Our vestibular system works with other sensorimotor systems in the body, such as our visual system (eyes) and skeletal system (bones and joints), to check and maintain the position of our body at rest or in motion. It also helps us maintain a steady focus on objects even though the position of our body changes. The vestibular system does this by detecting mechanical forces, including gravity, that act upon our vestibular organs when we move.
The organ of balance in your inner ear is the vestibular labyrinth. It includes loop-shaped structures (semicircular canals) that contain fluid and fine, hair-like sensors that monitor the rotation of your head. Near the semicircular canals are the utricle and saccule, which contain tiny particles called otoconia (o-toe-KOE-nee-uh). These particles are attached to sensors that help detect gravity and back-and-forth motion.
Good balance depends on at least two of these three sensory systems working well. However, if your central nervous system can’t process signals from all of these locations, if the messages are contradictory or if the sensory systems aren’t functioning properly, you may experience loss of balance.
How the symptoms of to vestibular dysfunction can affect you
Vestibular disorders may cause dizziness, vertigo, fainting and imbalance. They can also affect a person’s vision, hearing and impair cognitive abilities. While there are over a dozen different balance disorders related to vestibular dysfunction, we will look at some of the most common disorders below.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) or positional vertigo is a brief, intense episode of vertigo that occurs because of a specific change in the position of the head. If you have BPPV, you might feel as if you’re spinning when you look for an object on a high or low shelf or turn your head to look over your shoulder (such as when you back up your car). You also may experience BPPV when you roll over in bed. BPPV is caused when otoconia tumble from the utricle into one of the semicircular canals and weigh on the cupula. The cupula can’t tilt properly and sends conflicting messages to the brain about the position of the head, causing vertigo. BPPV sometimes may result from a head injury or simply from aging.
- Labyrinthitis is an infection or inflammation of the inner ear that causes dizziness and loss of balance. It frequently is associated with an upper respiratory infection such as the flu.
- Meniere’s disease is associated with a change in fluid volume within parts of the labyrinth. Meniere’s disease causes episodes of vertigo, irregular hearing loss, tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in the ear), and a feeling of fullness in the ear. The cause of this disease is unknown.
- Vestibular neuronitis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve and may be caused by a virus. Its primary symptom is vertigo.
- Perilymph fistula is a leakage of inner ear fluid into the middle ear. It can occur after a head injury, drastic changes in atmospheric pressure (such as when scuba diving), physical exertion, ear surgery, or chronic ear infections. Its most notable symptom, besides dizziness and nausea, is unsteadiness when walking or standing that increases with activity and decreases with rest. Some babies may be born with perilymph fistula, usually in association with hearing loss that is present at birth.
- Mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS) is a balance disorder in which you feel as if you’re continuously rocking or bobbing. It generally happens after an ocean cruise or other sea travel. Usually, the symptoms will go away in a matter of hours or days after you reach land. However, severe cases can last months or even years.
People with vestibular dysfunction may experience profound impacts on their health, family, social and professional life due to the restrictions a vestibular disorder causes.
Vestibular rehabilitation may be effective in minimizing or relieving some of the symptoms, especially if the dizziness is caused by head movement, motion sensitivity, or certain positions. When rehabilitation isn’t successful in controlling vertigo and other symptoms caused by vestibular system dysfunction, surgery may be a viable option.
Surgical procedures for peripheral vestibular disorders are either corrective or destructive. The goal of corrective surgery is to repair or stabilize inner ear function. The goal of destructive surgery is to stop the production of sensory information or prevent its transmission from the inner ear to the brain.
There are many valuable sources of to vestibular dysfunction information available. You can also access resources over the internet such as:
- Vestibular Orders Foundation
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- Medline Plus
- National Institute On Deafness and Other Communication Disorders