Dizziness and Imbalance in Children

More than 1 in 20 (nearly 3.3 million) children in the US between the ages of 3 and 17 have dizziness and/or balance problems.

Children with dizziness and balance problems may experience poor coordination, light-headedness, falls, difficulty reading, motion sensitivity, difficulty maintaining attention, visual disturbances (blurred or jumpy vision) especially with head movements, delayed motor development, discomfort in environments with high levels of sensory stimulation (bright lights, loud noises, busy moving surroundings), headaches, and may report generally feeling unwell much of the time.

Causes of dizziness and imbalance in children include impaired or lost vestibular function due to damage to the nerves supplying the inner ear, acute or chronic inner ear inflammation or infection, migraine, benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood, TBI, congenital malformations, severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, congenital cytomegalovirus, late-preterm birth, and global developmental delay.  Ototoxic medications used to treat disorders such as childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis and meningitis can also cause damage to the vestibular system leading to dizziness and/or imbalance. And Cochlear implantation, although providing excellent treatment for hearing loss, has also been shown to disrupt previously normal vestibular function in 5%-60% of implanted ears.

Treatment for children with dizziness and balance problems at Mainstay PT include exercises to help stabilize your child's gaze and improve their head-eye coordination, reduce their sensitivity to motion, help them better organize and use their balance system, and help them better tolerate sensory stimulation.