All kids, especially toddlers, stumble and fall sometimes. But your child may have a balance problem if you notice a regular pattern of issues like dizziness, blurred vision, clumsiness and frequent falls. Symptoms of balance disorders can sometimes be misdiagnosed as something else — or missed altogether. But treating balance problems can help kids function and feel better. At Nemours, our teams of specialists work together to figure out what may be causing your child’s balance and vestibular (inner ear balance) problems and create a treatment plan that fits their specific needs.
Balance Problems (Vestibular Disorders)
Helping Kids Stay Steady
Balance Problems We Treat
Our bodies use three separate systems to stay balanced: neurological (the nervous system), auditory (hearing) and vestibular (balance). So there are different types of balance problems, depending on what part of the body is affected:
- central vestibular disorders (problems in the brain or its connecting nerves)
- peripheral vestibular disorders (problems in the vestibule — a part of the inner ear that affects balance)
- systemic disorders (problems in the body other than the head and brain)
- vascular disorders (blood flow problems)
Those types of balance problems may include conditions like:
- benign paroxysmal torticollis of infancy (when a baby’s neck keeps tilting to one side)
- benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood (BPV, sometimes called “childhood paroxysmal vertigo,” caused by a build-up of fluid or tiny particle in the inner ear)
- labyrinthitis (can be caused by an infection of the part of the inner ear, the labyrinth, which controls balance)
- Ménièr disease (an imbalance of inner ear fluid that can cause hearing loss, a feeling of moving or spinning, and/or ringing in the ears)
- neuritis (also called “vestibular neuronitis,” an infection that causes inflammation of the vestibular nerve in the inner ear)
- ototoxicity (caused by medications that destroy the hair cells in the inner ear responsible for sending balance signals to the brain)
Testing & Treatment for Balance Problems
At Nemours, our pediatric vestibular disorder teams provide advanced testing and treatment. Depending on your child’s condition and the location you visit, your care team may include experts from many specialties like:
Balance problems are different for every child. We may recommend treatments like medications, surgery, changes to their diet and/or balance therapy (also called “vestibular rehabilitation therapy" — exercises that help with balance, reflexes, eye movement control and more).
Why Choose Us
At Nemours, our teams of experts uses the latest advances to diagnose all kinds of balance problems in kids. We’re able to perform specialized vestibular testing in our state-of-the art labs, where we can stimulate the inner ear to see how it affects children’s balance. Our kid-friendly equipment helps us pinpoint both the cause and the most effective treatment. And because our experts are often all under one roof, your child may be able to have multiple appointments scheduled in one day.
Regional Vestibular Disorder Highlights
Services, programs, facilities and care teams differ at each location. Call for details.
We offer care for kids’ balance problemss at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (Wilmington, Del.) and select satellite Nemours duPont Pediatrics locations. Our Pediatric Balance Disorders Program is one of the most advanced centers for children’s vestibular disorders in the country.
We offer care for kids' balance problems at Nemours Children’s Hospital (Orlando) and select satellite Nemours Children’s Specialty Care locations. To pinpoint the cause of your child’s balance problems, our board-certified otolaryngologists work closely with other internationally recognized Nemours specialists.
We offer care for kids' balance problems at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville (working with Wolfson Children’s Hospital), as well as select satelite Nemours Chldren's Specialty Care locations. Our Neuro-Otologic Program for Vestibular and Balance Disorders is the only balance facility for children in the region.