Did you know that the ear is not only used to listen to this important sense?, in its internal part it is related to functions such as balance and spatial control, learn more about it in this article dedicated to the vestibular system.
What is the vestibular system?
Has it ever happened to you that a loud or surprising sound has made you dizzy? This is due to two enlargements of the ear called utricle and saccule, which send information about the position of the head in relation to the ground when it is not in movement.
As part of the anatomy of the ear is the endolymphatic duct, which is formed by the utricular and saccular ducts, both of which are designed to detect accelerations or linear changes in the three planes of space. Therefore they are related to the functions of balance.
What are the functions of the vestibular system?
Initially, the vestibular system intervenes in balance by providing the brain with information about the position of the body, which allows the adoption of rapid compensatory movements in the event of falling or simply staggering.
In this sense, the vestibular system provides information about the movements, the position of the head and the body to the different centers that are located in the brainstem, the cerebellum and the somatic system. So it works as a key element for both postural reflexes and eye movements.
Therefore, the vestibular system works in coordination with the visual system to prevent objects from becoming blurred when the head moves. It also contributes to maintaining positional awareness when walking, running or traveling in a moving vehicle.
On the other hand, the sensors present in the skin, joints and muscles that send information to the brain about the movement, the position of each of the body parts of the body itself in relation to the environment through this feedback, the brain can indicate to the muscles, how to move and make adjustments to the position of the body that allows maintaining balance and coordination.
Alterations in the vestibular system
As you might guess, abnormalities that directly affect the vestibular system are also affecting balance, control of eye movements when we move our heads, and in general our ability to orient ourselves in space.
The alterations of this system due to any disease or temporary illness can generate symptoms such as vertigo, loss of balance, nausea and their severity can range from mild to intense.
For example, children with alterations in the vestibular system tend to present with nausea, dizziness, loss of balance and stumbling more frequently how to maintain poor posture, among other manifestations.
It is worth mentioning that the vestibular system begins to form in fetuses when they are in the mother’s womb and they are essential for early development, hence carrying out activities to promote their development from an early age is highly recommended.
Early stimulation of the vestibular system
Scientific studies have proven that vestibular stimulation is beneficial to regulate the levels of sound alteration in children and promote their attention through this sense.
For example, the use of soft music is often recommended to calm children by applying sensory inhibition at bedtime and at other times of the day when they may be more active and need to reduce their levels of activity to perform other types of activities. tasks such as quiet games, meditation, homework or eating.
Additionally, linear movements that involve rocking various parts of the body back and forth can also be useful to calm any state of hyperactivity, as they activate the reticular system through the vestibular system.