Balance and Vestibular Disorders in Children

What is a balance and vestibular disorder?

The ability to maintain balance is controlled by vision, proprioception (muscles and joints sensing the body’s location) and the vestibular system located within the inner ear. The system responsible for our balance that is located within the inner ear is comprised of three parts: semicircular canals, utricle and saccule. These three systems work together and send signals to the brain to help maintain posture and balance. Dizziness and balance disorders can have a significant impact of your child’s quality of life, development and psychological well-being.

Common balance and vestibular conditions we evaluate and manage:

Signs and symptoms of balance and vestibular disorders

You might be concerned that your child has a balance or vestibular disorder if they experience:

  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Imbalance
  • Frequent falls
  • Motion intolerance
  • Delayed motor milestones
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Difficulty navigating in the dark and/or on uneven surfaces

Treatment for balance and vestibular disorders

In the Balance and Vestibular Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), audiologists conduct comprehensive balance and vestibular evaluations as part of a multidisciplinary team approach. We work closely with a team of otolaryngologists and physical therapists to assess, manage, and treat children of all ages with balance and vestibular disorders. 

Following comprehensive evaluations, we will work with you, your child, referring physicians and other caregivers to better understand your child’s symptoms and to create a customized care plan.