Glossary of Common Vestibular Terms

  • Balance

    Control movements of the center of mass relative to stability limits in order to maintain equilibrium.

  • BPPV

    Benign Paroxysmal Vertigo A benign disorder of the labyrinth of the inner ear characterized by paroxysmal vertigo and Nystagmus only when the head is in a certain direction. The diagnosis is made at bedside by moving patient from the sitting position to recumbency with head tilted down 30 degrees over end of table and 30 degrees to one side. This causes a paroxysm of vertigo. This test is called the HALLPIKE MANEUVER. The episodes may last less than a minute, but may recur for months.

  • Canalith Repositioning

    A treatment used to move otoconia debris from the semicircular canals back into the utricle.

  • Central Compensation

    Neuroplasticity of the brain accommodates and adjusts for error signals.

  • Canalithiasis

    Disease of calculi in the cupula of the posterior canal of the inner ear. The condition may be associated with positional vertigo.

  • Dysequilibrium

    Refers to unsteadiness, imbalance, or loss of equilibrium often is accompanied by spatial disorientation.

  • Endolymphatic Hydrops

    Dilation due to an accumulation of fluid in the labyrinth space of the ear.

  • Equilibrium

    State of balance. Condition in which contending forces are equal.

  • Gait

    Manner of walking.

  • Gaze Stabilization

    Keeps images stable on the retina while head is moving, facilitated by vestibular ocular reflex: used when walking, keeps horizon stable during heel-strike, or reading lines of print.

  • Gait

    Manner of walking.

  • Kinetic

    Consisting of motion; forces acting on the body during movement and the interactions of sequence of motion with respect to time and forces present.

  • Labyrinth

    The inner ear, made up of the vestibule, cochlea and canals.

  • Menieres Disease

    A disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes of vertigo, Tinnitus (a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear), and fluctuating hearing loss.

  • Neuromuscular

    Concerning both nerves and muscles.

  • Nystagmus

    Involuntary, alternating rapid and slow movements of eyeballs.

  • Oscillopsia

    Degraded vision during active head movements due to abnormal vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) function.

  • Otitis Media

    Inflammation of the middle ear.

  • Otoconia

    Calcium carbonate crystals found in the utricle and saccule of inner ear.

  • Orthostatic Hypotension

    Decrease in blood pressure upon assuming erect posture.

  • Perception of Motion

    Being able to distinguish between body movement and environment moving.

  • Postural Stability

    Feedback from visual, vestibular and somato-sensory (muscles, joints) that helps the body accommodate changes in movement.

  • Proprioception

    The awareness of posture, movement, and changes in equilibrium and the knowledge of position, weight, and resistance of objects in relation to the body.

  • Rombergs Sign

    Inability to maintain body balance when the eyes are shut and the feet close together. The sign is positive if the patient sways and falls when the eyes are closed.

  • Somato-sensory

    Touch, joint and muscle receptors.

  • Vertigo

    True vertigo is the sensation of moving around in space or of having objects move about the person and is a result of a disturbance of equilibratory apparatus.

  • Vestibular Neuronitis

    Inflammation or degenerative inflammation of nerve cells.

  • Vestibular Rehabilitation

    An alternative form of exercise treatment designed to decrease dizziness, increase balance function and increase activity levels.