Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Balance Disorders

  • Anna DePold HohlerEmail author
  • Marcus Ponce de Leon
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_443


Normal balance requires the integration of three sensory systems: visual, vestibular (found in the inner ear), and somatosensory (sensations from the skin, muscles, tendons, and joints) – in addition to muscle strength. When these systems are impaired, individuals may experience episodes of spinning, light headedness, trouble focusing their eyes, and/or poor balance or falls.


Balance may be affected by disturbances of strength in the trunk or legs, sensation deficits, or difficulties with coordination. Multiple systems may be affected. A detailed history and neurological examination may help detect the affected area. Balance may be impaired after a focal event such as a stroke or may develop during the course of a neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s disease. Medications and infections of the brain or inner ear may also contribute to balance difficulties.


Aging may also affect balance. Approximately 40% of people older than age 65 suffer...

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References and Readings

  1. Ackley, S., Newell Decker, T., & Limb, C. J. (2007). An essential guide to hearing and balance disorders. Psychology Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston University Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Madigan Army Medical CenterTacomaUSA