The Vestibular Disorders Associations’ Balance Awareness Week aims to bring awareness to invisible diseases by making vestibular disorders visible through education and community.

The Vestibular Disorder Association (VeDA), a leading international organization for information about vestibular disorders, is holding its annual Balance Awareness Week to broaden awareness of balance-related vestibular conditions from Sept. 17 – 23, 2023. The campaign aims to enhance awareness of vestibular disorders and highlight their visibility so patients can receive quick and effective diagnosis and treatment, thereby improving their quality of life.

“The term ‘vestibular’ may sound complicated, but most people can relate to feeling dizzy at some point in their lives. However, imagine experiencing that sensation 24/7, coupled with other symptoms such as imbalance, brain fog, and fatigue – the list is endless. It is vital to spread awareness about how vestibular dysfunction can dramatically impact one’s life and provide hope to those struggling with these symptoms,” says Cynthia Ryan, Executive Director of VeDA.

Many people tend to overlook the importance of having good balance. 

The vestibular system, which comprises the inner ear and the brain, plays a crucial role in processing sensory information essential in controlling balance and eye movements. Vestibular disorders affect more than 35% of the population, and approximately one-third of reported dizziness and vertigo symptoms result from a vestibular problem.

“Being diagnosed with an invisible illness can feel extremely isolating and very frustrating,” says VeDA Ambassador Christine Moyer, a vestibular patient who saw thirteen doctors in thirteen weeks before finally receiving a diagnosis of PPPD.

After two years of overwhelming stress, anxiety, and trauma, accompanied with chronic ear infections, she suddenly became bedridden with debilitating non-vertigo dizziness. “Through lifestyle changes, my faith in God, vestibular rehab therapy, and medication, I was able to slowly regain my stability,” she says. Moyer aims to share hope and positivity with others and educate them through her social media account, @thatdizzygirl.

Dave Giugno was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease in 2014 and underwent a labyrinthectomy in 2019. Within a year his vertigo returned and he was diagnosed with Bilateral Meniere’s Disease and Vestibular Migraine. His hearing loss and conditions leave him unable to work. “I’ve learned to embrace my disability. It’s who I am and I have to be happy with myself. If I’m not happy with myself I won’t be happy anywhere so even though every day is a challenge I have learned to embrace it,” says Giugno. 

He shares informative videos through his Meniere’s Disease Warrior YouTube channel to educate and support fellow vestibular patients, so they don’t have to face the challenges of their journey alone.

Further reading: Radiation Treatment for Vestibular Schwannomas