Mr van Tijen has been using the BalanceBelt for a year now. We asked him to share his experience of the BalanceBelt in daily life.
What was your diagnosis?
In 2016, I spent ten weeks in hospital on an IV. Afterwards, it appeared that both my balance organs had stopped functioning. I had also suffered brain damage.
How did this diagnosis affect your life?
It changed my life completely. Losing function in both my balance organs made it difficult to sit down and get back up. Just standing still would cause my legs to start shaking and indoors, I could only keep my balance by walking with my legs wide apart. Walking outdoors was even more difficult and I became reliant on using a walking frame or stick. Maintaining my previously active lifestyle seemed like an impossibility until I tried the BalanceBelt.
How long have you had the BalanceBelt?
I’ve been wearing it since November 2019.
What does the BalanceBelt mean to you?
It means a great deal, it has improved my life in many ways. Thanks to the BalanceBelt, I can walk outdoors again without a rollator, although I do still carry a stick for safety (and for kerbsides). My family almost couldn’t believe it when they first saw the difference in the way I move around! I don’t think I could live without the BalanceBelt anymore.
“My family almost couldn’t believe it when they first saw the difference in the way I move around!”
I’ve always led a very active life, playing golf, walking and cycling. Unfortunately, golf isn’t possible anymore, but I can cycle again with a few smart modifications. When I first tried cycling again after my diagnosis, I fell quite badly because my eyes had trouble finding an orientation point. However, my stability has really improved since I had adult training wheels fitted to my e-bike. Each spring I visit Dutch Flanders with my wife, where we cycle often. It’s beautiful there! Back home I use my bicycle to run errands or to go to the physio, for example. And I wear the BalanceBelt to keep me stable when I get off the bike
“I’m turning 78 this year and I’ve also just had a hip replacement, so I’m quite content that I can still live such an active life. “
What I’m really happy about is that I can go walking again. During the day at least, at night I still don’t like to walk outside, even with the BalanceBelt. It is simply too difficult to find my orientation in the dark. But in daylight, I walk about 1-2 miles most days, in nature, or just to go to the shops. I’m turning 78 this year and I’ve also just had a hip replacement, so I’m quite content that I can still live such an active life. .
When do you use the BalanceBelt?
I mostly use it to go walking, do groceries and when I go cycling, for when I get off the bike.
Could you describe the difference between walking with or without the BalanceBelt?
Without the BalanceBelt I walk with my legs wide apart and as if I’ve had a drink too many. When I’m wearing the BalanceBelt, people around me often don’t even notice that I have a balance disorder.
Would you recommend the BalanceBelt to someone with a balance disorder?
Yes, absolutely. Thanks to the BalanceBelt, I am still able to live an active life, which wouldn’t otherwise be possible. So I would recommend it to anyone with a comparable balance disorder: Try the belt and see if it helps you as well.*
Many thanks for sharing your experiences with us!
Past clinical trials have shown a significant improvement in the quality of life for people suffering from severe Bilateral Vestibular Loss (BVL). The belt may benefit patients suffering from other balance disorders, but there is no clinical evidence for this yet. Additional clinical trials are necessary to investigate the extent to which the belt can aid patients suffering from other types of balance disorders.
Read more about Mrs Zeeger’s experiences with the BalanceBelt here.