Neurotology or neuro-otology is a branch of clinical medicine which studies and treats neurological disorders of the ear. It is a subspecialty ofotolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and is closely related to otology. Neurotologists are surgeons who have specialized in otolaryngology and then further specialized in neurological conditions of the ear, related structures, and lateral skull base surgery. It deals with vestibular (balance) diseases, such as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), Labyrinthitis, vestibular neuronitis, Ménière’s disease and Migraine associated symptoms.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a disorder arising in the inner ear. Its symptoms are repeated episodes of positional vertigo, that is, of a spinning sensation caused by changes in the position of the head. BPPV is the most common cause of the symptoms of vertigo. Within the labyrinth of the inner ear lie collections of calcium crystals known as otoconia or otoliths. In patients with BPPV, the otoconia are dislodged from their usual position within the utricleand migrate over time into one of the semicircular canals.
Ménière’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree. It is characterized by episodes of vertigo, low-pitched tinnitus, and hearing loss. The hearing loss is fluctuating rather than permanent, meaning that it comes and goes, alternating between ears for some time, then becomes permanent with no return to normal function. The cause of Ménière’s disease is believed to be linked to endolymphatic hydrops, an excess of fluid in the inner ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a type of hearing loss in which the root cause lies in the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII), the inner ear, or central processing centers of the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss can be mild, moderate, or severe, including total deafness. The great majority of human sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells of the organ of Corti in the cochlea. There are also very unusual sensorineural hearing impairments that involve the VIII cranial nerve (the vestibulocochlear nerve) or the auditory portions of the brain.
Vertigo is a subtype of dizziness in which a patient inappropriately experiences the perception of motion (usually a spinning motion) due to dysfunction of the vestibular system. It is often associated with nausea and vomitingas well as a balance disorder, causing difficulties standing or walking. The main causes of vertigo are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, Ménière’s disease, vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis but may also be caused by a concussion or a vestibular migraine.