How Our Bal­ance Sys­tem Works

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH -

Bal­ance and equi­lib­rium help us stay up­right when stand­ing and know­ing where we are in re­la­tion to grav­ity. Our bal­ance sys­tem also helps us walk, run, and move with­out fall­ing. Bal­ance is con­trolled through sig­nals to the brain from your eyes, the in­ner ear, and the sen­sory sys­tems of the body (such as the skin, mus­cles, and joints). This bal­ance sys­tem is also known as the vestibu­lar sys­tem. In the in­ner ear, the bal­ance sys­tem con­sists of three semi­cir­cu­lar canals that con­tain fluid and “sen­sors” that de­tect ro­ta­tional move­ment of the head. The semi­cir­cu­lar canals deal with dif­fer­ent move­ment: up-and-down, side-to-side, and tilt­ing from one side to the other. As the head moves, hair cells in the semi­cir­cu­lar canals send nerve im­pulses to the brain by way of the acous­tic nerve. The nerve im­pulses are pro­cessed in the brain to help us know where we are in space or if we are mov­ing. It is im­por­tant to see your doc­tor if you have un­ex­plained dizzi­ness or bal­ance is­sues. If you have ad­di­tional symp­toms such as chest pains, numb­ness or tin­gling, fall­ing or prob­lems walk­ing, weak­ness in the legs or arms, blurred vi­sion, slurred speech, sud­den hear­ing loss, se­vere neck stiff­ness, head trauma or in­jury, or high fever, go to your lo­cal emer­gency depart­ment im­me­di­ately.

Sub­mit­ted by: Hear­ing Spe­cial­ist: Jana Ku­bisova If you’d like more in­for­ma­tion please con­tact us at

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