The Vestibular System or Balance

Published on 27th March 2022

The Vestibular System or our Sense of Balance

Sensory Modulation

Sensory modulation refers to our ability to make sense of the volume and intensity of the information that our brains and body receive. Difficulties relating to sensory modulation mean that you can be over-sensitive and/or under-sensitive to information. This can change in different environments and at different times in the day, (a bit like a faulty internet connection). When sensations flow in a well-organised manner, the brain can use those sensations to form perceptions, behaviours, and learning. When the flow of sensations is disorganised, life can be like a rush hour traffic jam. When the sensory systems go into overload, this evokes a “flight, fight or freeze” response

The Vestibular system  is responsible for coping with gravity, muscle tone, balance, arousal, attention and our emotional state.

The vestibular system helps us to control our balance and movement, and is involved in the maintenance of posture, muscle tone, equilibrium, .coordination of the neck and eyes, maintaining a visual stable field and spatial orientation.

Receptors for the vestibular  which receive information  about head movement and gravity are in our ears. There are two parts:

1/Otoliths forensure we cope with linear movement eg swinging   

Also activated otoliths send signals down the spine to our muscles to lengthen and stand straight, which strengthens the muscles.

2/Ampulla in the semi-circular canal of the inner ear which helps us cope with rotary movements such as roundabouts in the park.

Also the semi-circular canal detect movements and send signals to the head and neck for head control.

There is also a connection with oculomotor function, aconnection between the eyes and movement to help stop us getting dizzy and feeling nauseous, think of a ballet dancing pirouetting.



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