Acephalgic: Without head pain, usually in the context of migraine.
Acrophobia: Fear of heights
Ageotropic nystagmus: Movement tendency directed away from the earth, usually found in lateral canal BPPV
Agoraphobia: Fear of busy, open marketplaces
Alexander’s Law: Peripheral vestibular-origin nystagmus is enhanced with gaze directed toward the fast phase. See gaze-evoked nystagmus.
Aminoglycosides: Group of antibiotics that can produce vestibular or cochlear toxicity
Ampulla: Dilated ending of the semicircular canal containing the cupula
Ampullofugal: Refers to displacement “away” from the ampulla
Ampullopetal: Refers to displacement “toward” the ampulla
Antihistamine: Class of medications utilized to address chronic vertigo or motion sickness. An example is meclizine.
Antivert (Meclizine): Antihistamine used to promote vestibular sedation with chronic vertigo or motion sickness
Ativan (Lorazepam): Benzodiazepine used to promote vestibular sedation with acute vertigo
Audiometry: Test of hearing
Autophony: Hearing of a person's own voice, breathing or other self-generated sounds. Usually seen in eustachian tube disorders (ETD).
Barany Maneuver (aka Dix-Hallpike, Hallpike): Testing procedure intended to identify anterior or posterior canal BPPV
Benzodiazepines: Class of medications utilized to promote vestibular sedation with acute vertigo
Caloric Testing: Component of ENG/VNG testing, intended to assess for asymmetric horizontal canal / superior vestibular nerve function, that involves irrigation of warm and cold water or air into the external auditory canal
Canalithiasis: Variant of BPPV where otoconia are free floating within the semicircular canal
Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers: Treatments intended to move displaced otoconia from the affected semicircular canal to the utricle
Cephalgia: Head pain
Cerebellum: Portion of the brain that modulates balance, limb and eye movements
Cholesteatoma: Mass growing within a confined space, often the middle ear
Cisplatin: Chemotherapy agent toxic to hearing
Cochlea: the auditory portion of the labyrinth
Collic: Referring to the neck
Cupulolithiasis: Variant of BPPV where otoconia are adherent to the cupula
Dehiscence: Refers to a split or opening in a structure, such as in superior canal dehiscence
Diazepam (Valium): Benzodiazepine used to promote vestibular sedation
Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine): Antihistamine used to promote vestibular sedation with chronic vertigo or motion sickness
Diplopia: Double vision
Dix-Hallpike Maneuver (aka Barany, Hallpike): Testing procedure intended to identify anterior or posterior canal BPPV
Dizziness: Non-specific term encompassing feelings of imbalance, spinning and lightheadedness
Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate): Antihistamine used to promote vestibular sedation with chronic vertigo or motion sickness
Dysarthria: Difficulty articulating words
Disequilibrium (or Dysequilibrium): Subjective sense of unsteadiness
Electronystagmography: Measurement of eye movements with electrodes surrounding the orbit
Epley Maneuver: Treatment for posterior canal BPPV
Fistula (Perilymph): Abnormal opening between the fluid-filled inner ear and the air-filled middle ear
Fixation: Maintenance of gaze on a single location
Fovea: Center portion of the retina, the region of highest visual acuity
Frenzel goggles: Utilized to block gaze fixation with the use of magnified lenses and illumination
Fukuda Step Test: Postural control test utilized to uncompensated unilateral vestibular loss
Fullness: Perception of ear pressure
Gentamicin: Antibiotic with vestibular-toxic properties
Geotropic: Movement tendency directed toward the earth
Habituation: An acquired tolerance gained by repeated exposure to a particular stimulus
Hallpike Maneuver (Barany, Dix-Hallpike): Testing procedure intended to identify anterior or posterior canal BPPV
Hydrops: Distention of the labyrinth with fluid, a likely component of Meniere’s Disease
Hyperacusis: Discomfort induced by noises that are not painful to most people.
Imbalance: Observable unsteadiness
Labyrinth: Refers to the inner ear which includes the cochlea and vestibular organs
Latency: The time between the initiation of a stimulus and the clinical manifestation of the disease
Lateropulsion: Tendency to fall to the side
Lightheadedness: Feeling of faintness
Lorazepam (Ativan): Benzodiazepine used to promote vestibular sedation with acute vertigo
Otolithic Crisis of Tumarkin: A sudden unexplained fall without loss of consciousness or vertigo, attributed to an abrupt change in otolithic input. Usually found in Meniere's disease.
Otoneurologist: Neurologist that specializes in ear conditions such as dizziness.
Maculae: Sensory epithelium contains hair cells that are stimulated by linear acceleration and deceleration within the otolithic organs
Mastoid: Sinus at the base of the skull behind the ear, containing air spaces that connect with the middle ear cavity
Meclizine (Antivert): Antihistamine used to promote vestibular sedation
Neurotologist: Otolaryngologist who specializes in inner ear disorders, especially tumors.
Neuroophthalmologist: Ophthalmologist (eye doctor) who specializes in neurological problems affecting the eyes.
Nystagmus: Involuntary jumping of eyes that resets the eyes during prolonged rotation and directs gaze towards the oncoming visual scene
Ocular flutter: Bursts of saccadic activity that involve rapid, involuntary, uni-planar, conjugate eye movements around the point of fixation without an inter-saccadic interval
Ophthalmoplegia: Weakness of one or more of the eye muscles that control eye movment
Optokinetic: generates eye movements in response to sustained rotations of objects that encompass a large portion of the visual field
Opsoclonus: Bursts of saccadic activity that involves rapid, involuntary, non-rhythmic, multidirectional, conjugate eye movements without significant inter-saccadic interval.
Orthogonal: Intersecting at 90 degree angles
Orthostatic Tremor: Rhythmical muscle contractions present with standing
Oscillopsia: Gaze instability, usually due to bilateral vestibular reduction
Ossicles: Middle ear bones (malleus, incus and stapes) that transmit sound from the tympanic membrane to the oval window of the inner ears.
Otalgia: Pain in the ear
Otoconia: Calcium carbonate crystals embedded within the maculae within the otolith organs.
Otolithic Crisis of Tumarkin: Sudden, conscious falls that occur without warning likely due to inappropriate otolith activity, usually associated with Meniere's disease.
Otolith Organs: Refers to the utricle and saccule
Ototoxic: Having a harmful affect on labyrinthine structures
Paraneoplastic: Caused by the presence of cancer in the body but not the physical presence of cancerous tissue in the part or organ affected
Paroxysmal: Recurrent and sudden intensification of symptoms
Perilymph: Fluid situated between the bony and membranous labyrinth
Phenergan (Promethazine): Antihistamine utilized to address chronic vertigo and motion sickness
Phonophobia: Fear/sensitivity to sound. Associated with migraine and hyperacusis
Photophobia: Fear/sensitivity to light, usually associated with migraine.
Pitch: To turn about a medial-lateral (y) axis. In other words, the axis between your ears. See here for more.
Promethazine (Phenergan): Antihistamine utilized to address chronic vertigo and motion sickness
Pulsion: The feeling of being pulled in a certain direction
Roll: To turn about an anterior-posterior (x) axis. See here for more.
Roll Test: Maneuver intended to identify horizontal canal BPPV. Better word is "supine roll test".
Romberg Test: Bedside maneuver to detect imbalance.
Saccades: Abrupt, rapid movement of both eyes utilized to change the point of fixation
Saccule: Otolithic organ that primarily detects vertical and forward linear accelerations
Schwannoma: Solid, usually benign tumor derived from Schwann cells. When involving the 8th nerve, termed an acoustic neuroma.
Semicircular canal: Circular, fluid-filled, ducts within the vestibular organ responsible; structure promotes the detection of angular accelerations
Semont Maneuver: Treatment for posterior canal BPPV, canalithiasis or cupulolithiasis
Smooth pursuit: Maintains image of a small moving target on the fovea
Stapedectomy: Surgical removal of the stapes followed by prosthetic replacement. Usually for otosclerosis.
Syncope: Loss of consciousness
Temporal Bone: Portion of the skull containing the labyrinth. Hardest bone in the body.
Tinnitus: Ringing in the ears
Torsion: Rotation around the anterior-posterior. Also known as roll.
Tropia: Deviation in ocular alignment that persists with both eyes viewing.
Tullio’s Phenomena: Vestibular symptoms elicited by sound. Usually associated with superior canal dehiscence.
Utricle: Otolithic organ that primarily detects horizontal linear accelerations
Utriculofugal: displacement away from the utricle
Utriculopetal: displacement toward the utricle
Valium (Diazepam): Benzodiazepine medication used for vestibular sedation.
Valsalva Maneuver: Attempt to forcibly exhale with the glottis, nose and mouth closed. Used to diagnose superior canal dehiscence as well as some types of syncope.
Vestibular-Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP): Laboratory test of saccular / inferior vestibular nerve function
Vergence: Movement of the eyes in opposite directions, usually induced by taking up near or far vision
Vertigo: Dizziness characterized by a sense of spinning
Vestibular: Refers to the vestibular (balance) portion of the labyrinthine organ
Vestibulopathy: Disease to the vestibular organ
Visual fixation: Holds the image of a stationary object on the fovea by minimizing ocular drifts
Videonystagmography: Measurement of eye movements with the use of video
Yaw: To turn about a vertical (z) axis
ABC: Activities specific Balance Confidence scale. One of numerous questionnaires used to quantify balance.
BOS: Base Of Support
BPPV: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. A common inner ear type of vertigo due to loose crystals.
BVL: Bilateral Vestibular Loss
CDP: Computerized Dynamic Posturography
COG: Center of Gravity
COR: Cervical-Ocular Reflex
CRT, CRM, CRP: Canalith Repositioning Treatment. Several acronyms all being the same set of ethods of treating BPPV.
CTSIB: Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction for Balance. A bedside method of assessing balance. Also known as "foam and dome". Similar to the Romberg test.
DBN: Downbeat Nystagmus. Eyes jump downward. There us also UBN (upward). While there should be a TBN (eyes twist, nobody has invented this acronym as yet).
DGI: Dynamic Gait Index. One of many methods of assessing balance. More lengthy but similar to the Romberg test.
DHI: Dizziness Handicap Inventory, one of numerous questionnaires used to quantify balance.
DVA: Dynamic Visual Acuity.
ENG: ElectroNystagmoGraphy, also known as VNG and VENG.
GEN: Gaze-evoked nystagmus
HSN: Head-Shaking induced Nystagmus
IHS: International Headache Society. Society that develops lists of symptoms used to group headaches.
INO: InterNuclear Ophthalmoplegia. Pattern of slowed medial going eye movements often found in multiple sclerosis
LVN: Lateral Vestibular Nucleus
MDD: Mal De Debarquement. Prolonged dizziness after getting off boat.
MLF: Medial Longitudinal Fasciculus. Structure damaged in INO
MRD: Migraine Related Dizziness. Also known as MAV (migraine associated vertigo), Vestibular migraine, and others.
MS: Multiple Sclerosis
MSQ: Motion Sensitivity Quotient. Output of a questionnaire designed to measure motion sickness.
MVN: Medial Vestibular Nucleus. A small piece of the vestibular nucleus complex in the brainstem.
OKN: OptoKinetic Nystagmus
PAN: Periodic Alternating Nystagmus
PICA: Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery. Artery that supplies the vestibular nucleus.
POT: Primary Orthostatic Tremor -- a rare cause of unsteadiness on standing -- (not to be confused with POTS -- positional orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).
PPRF: Paramedian Pontine Reticular Formation. Brainstem structure that drives rapid eye movements to the sides.
SCC: SemiCircular Canal
SCD: Superior Canal Dehiscence
SNHL: SensoriNeural Hearing Loss
SLS: Single Limb Stance -- a variant of the Romberg test.
SOT: Sensory Organization Test
SVA: Static Visual Acuity (as opposed to dynamic visual acuity). SVA is how well you see with your head still.
SWJ: Square Wave Jerks
TUG: Timed Up and Go -- one of many methods of quantifying balance.
UVL: Unilateral Vestibular Loss
VBI: Vertebral-Basilar Insufficiency
VCR: Vestibulo-Collic Reflex
VEMPs: Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials
VNG: VideoNystagmoGraphy (newer name for ENG). Also known as VENG.
VOR: Vestibular-Ocular Reflex
VRT: Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
VSR: Vestibulo-Spinal Reflex