Audiology involves investigating and treating balance conditions. We keep our balance by using a complex mixture of different systems: the eyes, the inner ears, and information from our muscles and joints. A disturbance in the balance system can cause sensations such as unsteadiness, feeling off-balance, or a sensation of movement or spinning, even when still.
Audiology specialises in balance difficulties that are due to problems in the inner ear – the vestibular system. The vestibular system is comprised of the saccule, utricle, and 3 semicircular canals (horizontal, anterior and posterior).
Audiology professionals are involved in helping to diagnose problems with the vestibular system. Assessment of this system usually involves detailed discussions around symptoms, functional impact and medical history, and testing of balance function. The tests performed depend on individual symptoms but can often include recording eye movements whilst performing various tasks (because of the close connection between the eyes and the vestibular system), positional testing, and tests of postural function.
Audiology professionals can also be involved in the treatment of various balance conditions which may involve performing manoeuvres, or setting exercises programmes (Vestibular Rehabilitation) for specific balance conditions. They also often work closely with other professionals in diagnosis and treatment of balance problems such as ENT specialists, Audiovestibular physicians, physiotherapists, neurologists and falls teams.
There is some great information on your balance system on the Hearing Link website.