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Over the past week, I have been experiencing imbalance when I walk. It’s worse when I bend over. What’s causing this, and is there anything I can do?

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Scot frink
Christopher S. Frink, MS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Salem

As Kristi indicated, a full audiological evaluation is warranted.  Your primary care physician should be notified and you should request a referral to see an audiologist who specializes in vestibular (balance) testing.  Just a disclaimer that I am not specialized in this area of audiology but I frequently refer patients experiencing extreme symptoms like yours to someone I know who does.  In all likelihood, you may be experiencing what is known as "Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo", or BPPV for short.  This is fairly common and easily diagnosed through the correct testing.  It can also be easily treated.  It is important, however, to not make assumptions and to instead insist on appropriate testing to obtain a differential diagnosis.  There are many pathologies that can cause imbalance, so it is important to have the proper tests in order to make sure you truly know what is going on (and obtain appropriate treatment).  Physicians general don't do this testing, but those who know better will refer you to an audiologist who does.  

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Audiologist victorville ca kristi mendoza
Kristi Mendoza, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Victorville

The best suggestion is for you to do two things: 1. Get a hearing test from an Audiologist. 2. Take the hearing test information to an ENT or your Primary Physician who can  properly diagnosis the dizziness from the results and your symptoms. Imbalance can come for many different reasons and doing these two things will give you the best information about what to do.  If you can, find an ENT who also works with an Audiologist at the same location. Best of luck to you as having imbalance is very disorienting! 

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Arizona balance hearing audiologist dr. dana day1
Dana Day, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Phoenix

First and foremost you need to be safe and avoid falls.  Until you are able to see your physician make sure you are wearing shoes with solid soles to provide support.  When bending over have something near you that is solid that you can use for support.  Continue movig your head when walking, but make sure you are safe.  Also, keep yourself hydrated.  

As mentioned previously you do want to contact your primary care physician and disuss your symptoms with him or her.  Imbalance can happen for a number of reasons with etiology anywhere from BPPV, inner ear problems, to migraines, to medication effects.  Don't be surprised if your primary care doctor referrs you to a specialist, most likely an ENT, though neurology may also be consulted.  A comprehensive history is the first step with a comprehensive audiogram as the second step.  From there a VNG (balance test) may be recommended by your physician.   Wishing you good health.

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