Gentamicin can completely or partially destroy the inner ear, or vestibular system. It is this destruction that leads, directly or indirectly, to most of the symptoms of gentamicin poisoning.
Vestibular rehabilitation is a process employed by specially trained physical therapists to:
- maximize the potential of any remaining vestibular function; and
- teach coping mechanisms to use the body’s other senses to compensate for a damaged or absent vestibular system.
Tailored to Your Specific Needs
A vestibular rehabilitation therapist will perform a complete evaluation of your vestibular injury paying close attention to posture, balance, movement, and any compensatory strategies you have developed on your own.
Using this information, the therapist will develop an individual treatment plan, tailored to your specific strengths and weaknesses. The plan may include eye exercises and head and body movements. These exercises are performed at therapy sessions and at home.
"Some of the exercise and activities may at first cause an increase in symptoms, as the body and brain attempt to sort out the new pattern of movements. But with time and consistent work, the coordination signals from the eyes, proprioception, and vestibular system will occur," writes Anne Shumway-Cook, PhD, RPT, a pioneer in the field of vestibular rehabilitation. Her article, Vestibular Rehabilitation, is available for purchase from the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) online store.
An excellent discussion, entitled Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy is provided by neuro-otologist, Timothy M. Hain, MD, who specializes in balance disorders.
Vestibular rehab will not eliminate your symptoms, but can help you adapt to balance and vision disorders.