dizziness balance (1)

Prof Margie spoke to the Master of Audiology final year students at Flinders University of South Australia on 31 October 2014. She spoke about the Role of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy for Vestibular Disorders, a field in which she has dedicated her career and worked for several decades. She espouses that a multi-disciplinary approach is mandatory for successful and positive outcomes for the dizzy patient.

The Master of Audiology teaches knowledge and skills in the evaluation and management of auditory disorders – hearing loss and tinnitus – and their consequences. Studies have found that one in six Australians have hearing loss and this figure was predicted to rise to one in four by 2050. We’ve previously mentioned that forty percent of adults will experience significant dizziness at some time in their lives, and that nearly one in four emergency room visits includes a complaint of dizziness, So ear disorders, including hearing loss are very common and come at great cost to the Australian community.

As well as hearing loss, audiologists are generally trained to diagnose and treat conditions such as tinnitus, vertigo, auditory processing disorder, hyperacusis and acoustic shock injury.

Prof Margie has been treating patients with vestibular disorders since the late 1980’s, during which time she has witnessed not only a growing interest from allied health professionals, medical practitioners and the public in this specialized field, but also major advances in the knowledge and understanding of the vestibular system in health and disease; and importantly, the development of new techniques and equipment to examine the function of the vestibular system in patients and new treatment approaches.

She says, ” Understanding each other’s role enables us to provide best practice and care of the dizzy patient.”

Vertigo and dizziness are the second most common complaints after headache. They are not disease entities, rather unspecific syndromes consisting of various disorders with different causes. However, even with this level of complaint, dizziness remains a perplexing problem for most clinicians as it can be a symptom of disease in almost any organ system of the human body.