Imagine Life Without Balance

Close your eyes and stand on one foot. It’s hard right? Now imagine having that same disoriented feeling on two feet, and with your eyes open. Balance is something most of us take for granted. It’s automatically hardwired into our bodies at birth, evolving and adapting as we grow and age. While basic balance is innate, some of us are able to perfect or even master our balance through exercise and practice. We don’t often think about our balance—until of course, we lose it.

While most people may not be familiar with the word “vestibular”—relating to your inner ear, brain, and sense of balance—many of us have likely experienced the awkward or sometimes scary feeling when we momentarily lose our balance. Maybe it’s taking a wrong step or getting motion sickness aboard a jostling boat. Or that nauseating head-spinning sensation after one too many alcoholic beverages. Eventually, our balance comes back and life moves on.

This is not the case for the over 69 million Americans who suffer from the mostly invisible and frequently debilitating symptoms of chronic imbalance association with a vestibular disorder. Whether it comes on gradually over time or all of the sudden, bouts of dizziness, vertigo, and nausea can make many of life’s more routine tasks virtually intolerable. Just try getting a good night’s sleep with a high-pitched ringing in your ear. Or try to focus on something as everything around you appear to be spinning. For those living with a vestibular condition, everyday life becomes a progressively challenging obstacle course to navigate.

 

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