There are several reasons that a person experiences dizziness, including vestibulopathy. This disorder can make it difficult to function in a workplace setting, and people experiencing it will need a way to pay for their everyday needs when they can no longer work. Applying for Social Security disability benefits is necessary in many instances, but applicants need to understand the condition so that they can gather the right information to make a successful claim. Here’s some more information that people can use to better understand vestibulopathy and what people need to get the money when they need it.
What is Vestibulopathy?
The inner ear responsible for more than hearing; it also plays a great role in balance. The vestibular system is in the inner ear, and it’s responsible for balance and a sense of spatial orientation. There are three passages in the ear that have a ring-shaped design. These passages are filled with fluid and tiny hairs that sense when the fluid inside the ears move. They then send signals back to the brain that tell the brain about the body’s relation to the environment. If this part of the ear is damaged, a person will likely experience some form of vestibulopathy.
The vestibular system can be damaged by aging, illness, or injury. When a person has some form of vestibular disorder, they’ll often feel dizzy and have problems with balance.
Vestibulopathy relates to any one of many disorders of the inner ear, including CANVAS syndrome, vestibular schwannoma, BPVD, bilateral vestibular hypofunction, cervicogenic dizziness, mal de debarquement, neurotoxic vestibulopathy, superior canal dehiscence, and many others.
Usually, vestibular disorders that cause dizziness occur because some part of the inner ear that’s involved in balance has been damaged. Consequently, hearing loss is also common with vestibular disorders.
Since there are so many reasons that a person might have vestibulopathy, someone from any age or racial group can get it. But people who are age 80 and over are the most likely to have some form of the disorder, and young children are less likely to have many forms. Additionally, some forms of the disorder can come and go throughout a person’s life or remain fairly consistent for long periods of time.
Symptoms of Vestibulopathy
Although there can be many forms of the disorder, with each one having its own unique symptoms, there are a few signs of the disorder that are common in almost every form. For instance, one of the cardinal symptoms is dizziness. Problems with vision and hearing are also common.
Some types of vestibulopathy, such as laybyrnthitis, are caused by an infection in the ear. If an infection is the cause, a person might also experience ear pain, nausea, fever, and pressure. Additionally, fluid or pus might also come out of the ear. This is the ear flushing out the bacteria that caused the infection.
If Meniere’s disease is the cause, other symptoms besides dizziness could include hearing loss, tinnitus, and a feeling like the ear is full of something. In reality, the ear sometimes is filled with fluid. If caught early enough, hearing can come back in certain cases, but in other cases, it can become permanent.
Acoustic neuroma is a type of non-cancerous tumor that grows slowly but can, nonetheless, affect balance and hearing. If the tumor grows large enough, a person might also notice numbness on that side of the face as the tumor pinches off the nerves.
When the vestibular system sends the wrong kinds of signals to the brain, a person can get a vestibular migraine. Besides a migraine and dizziness, a person might also experience sensitivity to light, ringing in their ears, and temporary hearing loss.
Fatigue, staggered walk, and difficulties focusing are all symptoms of the vestibular disorder, mal de debarquement.
Treatments for Vestibulopathy
There are several forms of treatment for vestibular disorders, and the exact ones that a doctor chooses will likely be dependent on the reason for the vestibular disorder. Generally, though, these are some of the most commonly used forms of treatment.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a type of treatment in which head, body, and eye exercises are used to retrain the brain on how to interpret stimulation from the ears.
The Epley maneuver is often used for benigh paroxymal vestibular disorder. With these maneuvers of the head and trunk, displaced otoliths, which are involved in the sense of gravity and movement, are moved to where they can no longer throw off the person’s sense of balance and body positioning.
When people who have Meniere’s disease, migraine-associated dizziness, or endolymphatic hydrops often find that adjusting their diets can provide significant improvement. This approach can be helpful because it helps balance the fluids in the inner ear. Some dietary changes that the person might have to make include distributing their fluid intake throughout the day and limiting foods that are high in sugar or salt.
People suffering from a vestibular disorder might also feel guilt, depression, and grief over no longer being able to do the things that they used to be able to do. If the vestibular order can’t be corrected, they’ll need to learn how to adapt their lifestyle, too, and talk therapy can help with these adjustments.
Medications, such as vestibular suppressants, and surgery are also options. There are several types of surgeries, and the kind that a patient receives is based on the type of vestibulopathy.
Disability Benefits for Vestibulopathy
Since vestibular disorders can make it difficult to do many types of jobs, including those that require a sense of balance or those that are physical, people experiencing inner ear disorders should apply for Social Security disability benefits. But even people who have jobs that aren’t physical might find it difficult to function properly while at work and should look at the listings to determine whether or not they would qualify.
When applying, applicants will need to have medical records of their struggles with their inner ear disorder. And because vestibulopathy isn’t specifically listed in the Social Security Blue Book, people applying for Social Security benefits also need a diagnosis for a specific type of inner ear disorder, such as one of the disorders listed above. Each specific condition has its own list of criteria that the applicant must meet in order to qualify for disability benefits, so getting a specific diagnosis is critical when gathering the information needed to apply.
If an applicant doesn’t meet the criteria for a specific disorder, they can also apply for disability insurance by completing a residual functional competency test. This assessment is designed to determine whether or not someone is impaired enough that they are unable to work. To do this, the applicant will need to keep detailed records of their symptoms, and their doctor will need to give evidence, too. From these records and by looking at previous work experience, the Social Security Administration will determine whether or not there is suitable work that the applicant can do.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Still’s Disease, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.