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Frequent Dizziness: How to diagnose and treat the problem of balance system

By : Chanshimla Varah | Updated on: 10 Sep 2018, 05:53:02 PM
A new device on frequent dizziness (Photo:Twitter)

New Delhi:

Dizziness can happen when you sit and stand up, as a result of vertigo or a problem in the inner ear. Dizziness is random. It happens depending on the condition of one’s physical health being. To make this occurrence more predictable, scientists have developed a new vibrating device that is placed behind a patient's ear, an area responsible for frequent dizziness-occurring. They have as of now, offered significant advantages over the current tests.

"We have developed a new type of vibrating device that is placed behind the ear of the patient during the test," said Bo Hakansson, a professor at Chalmers, in a study.

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"The vibrating device is small and compact in size, and optimised to provide an adequate sound level for triggering the reflex at frequencies as low as 250 Hertz (Hz). Previously, no vibrating device has been available that was directly adapted for this type of test of the balance system," Hakansson said.

This test on dizziness was conducted by a group of Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. They developed the testing device using bone conduction sounds.

A study published in the journal Medical Devices states: Evidence and Research patients stated that hearing and balance have something in common. And as such, this relationship can be used to help diagnose issues with balance.  
'VEMP' test or Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials was required to be performed for such a study.

A VEMP test uses loud sounds to evoke a muscle reflex contraction in the neck and eye muscles, triggered by the vestibular system -the system responsible for our balance. This test however didn’t prove quite successful, as the methods tested raised a concern of have causing hearing loss and discomfort for patients.

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Unlike the VEMP tests, this new device focuses on bone conduction transmission, sound waves are transformed into vibrations through the skull, stimulating the cochlea within the ear. With this new device that focuses on the vestibular systems, positive results are awaited. 

"Thanks to this bone conduction technology, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimised," said Karl-Johan Freden Jansson, a postdoctoral researcher at Chalmers University.

The new vibrating device can be performed at 40 decibels lower using air conducted sounds through headphones. "This eliminates any risk that the test itself could cause hearing damage," said Jansson.
The benefits of this device also include safer testing for children, patients with impaired hearing function due to chronic ear infections, congenital malformations in the ear canal and middle ear. This device can hence help diagnose the origin of their dizziness, researchers said.

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This new vibrating device is well-matched with the standardised equipment for balance diagnostics in healthcare and the cost is also estimated to be lower than the corresponding equipment used today, researchers said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published : 10 Sep 2018, 05:48:22 PM