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Lakeside offers balance help

If balance issues are affecting your life, no longer will you have to travel to Vancouver to undergo testing.

Kelowna’s Lakeside Hearing now offers the state of the art systems required to diagnose vestibular system issues that cause imbalance and can make simple daily life activities such as working, grocery shopping and driving impossible.

“We’re quite lucky to be able to provide these services locally,” Lakeside Hearing doctor of audiology Nichole Sorensen says. “There are only a few audiologists in the province who do the testing as it requires over a year of advanced training and expensive equipment. 

“We use sophisticated equipment and technology to look at the balance centres in the inner ear to measure any dysfunction and to help tailor individual treatment.”

Vancouver audiologist Erica Zaia, who owns and operates Audio-Vestibular Clinic, has conducted vestibular testing and rehabilitation for more than 25 years. She travels to Kelowna frequently to collaborate with Sorensen on the testing, whose wait times in the Okanagan are nowhere near the year it often takes to get an appointment in the Lower Mainland.

“The test battery that we offer now in Kelowna is similar to the testing they would receive if they went to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver or Vancouver General Hospital,” Sorensen says.

The vestibular system is in the inner ear, and when its mechanisms are disrupted it can cause dizziness, vertigo, nausea and fatigue. The tests assess how the inner-ear balance sensors are working and integrating with the eyes, body and brain to maintain balance. There are five tests that can be administered, including measuring involuntary eye movements called nystagmus through infrared goggles, determining how parts of the inner ear connect to the brain stem and assessing gaze stability during motion.

Today is the start of Balance Awareness Week in North America, and Lakeside Hearing is offering a $50 discount on the advanced assessment test if you book an appointment before the end of September.

Not only can you now get advanced testing done in the Okanagan, but you can also turn to others for help as Lakeside Hearing offers support groups and management for those suffering from dizziness, ringing and hearing loss.

“Persistent dizziness can be very life-altering and debilitating,” Sorensen says.

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