Patients who suffer from dizziness in South Tyneside are on the mend – thanks to a new NHS service.
A special clinic at South Tyneside District Hospital is aiming to tackle the problem in older people.
Since we introduced a vestibular clinic dealing specifically with inner ear disorders, we have seen some great results for patientsDean Metz
It started last year, and over half of patients treated have reported that their symptoms have either completely resolved, or improved. In some cases, a simple technique involving gentle head and neck movements has resolved the problem within minutes.
Another effective treatment has included a programme of exercises to improve communication and co-ordination between the inner ear, brain and eye.
Falls specialist physiotherapist Dean Metz said: “Dizziness linked to an inner ear disorder is a common problem in older adults, with approximately a third of people over 70 and half of people in their late 80s suffering symptoms.
“It can have serious consequences as it can result in them falling and badly injuring themselves.
“Since we introduced a vestibular clinic dealing specifically with inner ear disorders, we have seen some great results for patients.
“The Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) is used to measure how dizzy a person feels on a scale of 0 to 100.
“The average improvement in DHI score was 25.25 points after accessing the clinic, which should lead to a significantly reduced chance of falling for these patients.”
Over a third of patients reported that their symptoms had completely resolved, and a further 21% reported an improvement.
Patients are referred to the clinic by their GP or another health and social care professional.