Vestibular Implants

Vertigo and imbalance are common problems that many people experience. These problems are caused by various factors that can be related to the inner ear or central nervous system structures. Vestibular system of inner ear, which is exclusively dedicated to maintaining balance, sends information about the condition of the person in the environment, as well as linear and angular accelerations to the brain.
Different disorders can lead to dizziness, vertigo and imbalance. In most cases, especially when there is a unilateral damage to the inner ear or vestibular nerve, such as vestibular neuritis and unilateral Meniere’s disease, the problems are resolved after using medications or performing vestibular rehabilitation. However, in bilateral disorders, the duration of treatment will be longer and the patient will never be able to reach the level of his balance abilities before the disease. This problem intensifies when the eyes are closed or the patient is on the soft surfaces.
One of the treatment options for these patients is vestibular implant which has some similarities with cochlear implant for hearing impaired people. Vestibular implant has two miniature motion-sensitive sensors that constantly track the head movements. A gyroscope tracks the motion of the head and a linear accelerometer measures directional movements of the person. Vestibular implant sends these signals to the vestibular nerve.
At present, attempts are made to use this therapeutic approach in different vestibular diseases and it would be used more in the future.