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Mehmood is a practising GP and is Medical Director of Bupa Home Healthcare. He previously worked in a senior medical management position with the NHS Hammersmith & Fulham. He is a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Ask Mehmood any of your questions surrounding GPs and navigating the healthcare system.
Mehmood will be answering your questions on Thursday, so make sure you get them in by Wednesday at 5pm
Hi Mehmood, I have two daughters aged 22 with Retts and PMLD (twins) One at present is experiencing balance problems (She wants to grab onto everything but does not actually fall) especially in the morning and evening at personal care time (She can walk-not a wheelchair user) In the past she has had a number of ear infections treated with antibiotics...ear drop Gentisone and on one occassion she had a course of 'vertigo' medication when she didn't have an ear infection which didn't stop the balance problem of which we are basically putting down to 'anxiety.' Could my daughter be experiencing Tinnitus? i.e. losing balance, hearing ringing in her ears, banging the side of her head, becoming agitated and turning round in circles...appreciate it's a difficult one but perhaps if I knew..if it was possible to 'test' a person with a learning disability fot tinnitus and if so what is the treatment for it, as she may have it but has no way of telling us! In the meantime we treat for an ear infection but what if it is more serious and tinnitus is the underlying problem? I'm Not really getting anywhere with my daughters GP on the tinnitus aspect. Hope you can advise Tom (Lillianne's Dad)
Please see Mehmood's reply below:
Tinnitus is a subjective experience that an individual experiences and is variously described as a ‘buzzing’, ‘ringing’ or a ‘high-pitched sound’ in one or both ears. It is not possible to test someone objectively for tinnitus as it relies on the person telling you they are experiencing it. Tinnitus does not in itself cause balance problems and ear infections that would be treated with ear drops, usually wouldn’t either.
Vertigo is the experience of the environment spinning around and a good sign that your daughter is experiencing this is the presence of ‘nystagmus’ (both eyes darting repeatedly from side-to-side) at the time of seeming unstable. There are a number of possible causes for vertigo and it is possible that your daughter has this either as a consequence of her underlying neurological problems or because of a problem in the inner ear.
As your daughter does not actually fall, it is also perfectly possible that there is no balance problem at all and she is grabbing onto things for other behavioural reasons. Balance and vertigo are difficult to test for objectively, in someone with learning disabilities and I would therefore advise you to see a neurologist who understands your daughter’s condition for an expert opinion on whether there is indeed a balance problem and if so working out whether it is treatable.