Vestibular & Balance Disorders Services for Children

Our specialists in pediatric vestibular and balance disorders at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone offer compassionate and personalized care for your child. We create tailored treatment plans to alleviate symptoms of vestibular and balance disorders and to restore your child’s quality of life.

Our team of experts includes otolaryngologists, also called ear, nose, and throat doctors; otologists, who specialize in managing disorders of the middle ear; neurologists; physical therapists; and occupational therapists.

Conditions We Treat

The vestibular system is a complex structure of the inner ear that sends signals to the brain, communicating information about motion, head position, spatial awareness, and balance. Dysfunction of the vestibular system can lead to problems with balance and other symptoms, such as feeling dizzy. These symptoms may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, frequent falls, a dislike of motion, and unusual eye movements.

Vestibular and balance conditions we manage in children include:

  • benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood, a neurological disorder that causes dizziness episodes
  • benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which is when certain head movements cause dizziness
  • developmental delays that may impact balance and hearing
  • middle ear effusion, the buildup of fluid behind the eardrum, causing balance problems
  • motion sickness
  • a torn eardrum that causes dizziness
  • vestibular migraine, dizziness accompanied by headache or a history of headache
  • vestibular neuritis, dizziness caused by problems with the inner ear
  • vestibular schwannomas, also known as an acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the inner ear, which is associated with neurofibromatosis type 2

Advanced, Child-Centered Care

If our doctors suspect your child has a balance disorder, we may refer them to NYU Langone’s Hearing and Balance Center for advanced vestibular testing.

Our specialists may also use otoscopy to view the inner ear to look for signs of inflammation, infection, or injury—such as a torn eardrum. We may order an MRI scan to help diagnose a vestibular schwannoma. In addition, we may refer your child to a pediatric neurologist for further evaluation.

Based on these tests, our specialists create a personalized treatment plan for your child. We offer a full array of treatment approaches to vestibular and balance disorders, keeping your child’s needs foremost. Possible treatments may inlcude the following:

  • medications to address infections and inflammation
  • vestibular therapy, a movement-based technique to restore balance that is performed by Rusk Rehabilitation specialists
  • surgery to place tubes to manage middle ear effusion, repair a torn eardrum, or to remove a vestibular schwannoma

If balance problems are accompanied by hearing loss, our doctors may refer your child to our audiologists at the Hearing and Balance Center or the Cochlear Implant Center.

Support services to help you and your child manage diagnosis and treatment are available at Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care.