The inner ear serves two purposes: hearing and balance. There are mechanisms in the ear that inform the brain about your position, orientation in space, and movement at all times to keep you in balance. A false sensation of spinning or whirling, known as vertigo, can occur when the signal to the brain is blocked or misfires. In addition to dizziness, symptoms may include headache, nausea, sensitivity to bright light, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, ear pain, facial numbness, eye pain, motion sickness, confused thinking, fainting, and clumsiness.
Dizziness can also be a symptom of a more serious medical problem, such as high or low blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, tumors, medication side effects, or metabolic disorders. Therefore, you should always seek medical attention if you experience ongoing or repetitive dizziness.
Common causes of dizziness
An acoustic neuroma is a benign growth on the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV):
BPPV occurs when tiny calcium crystals in the ears loosen and begin moving about the wrong part of the ear. It is characterized by sudden, short dizziness, often due to head movement. There is no known cause for BPPV. It usually resolves itself in a matter of days.
Inflammation of the Inner Ear
Dizziness may be one symptom of an inner ear infection.
Meniere's Disease is characterized by long periods of dizziness, lasting from 30 to 60 minutes or more. It is accompanied by ear ringing, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. There is no known cause or cure for Meniere's Disease, although medication and behavior changes can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Some migraines (vestibular migraines) can cause imbalance and vertigo. This may be accompanied by ringing in the ears or hearing loss. Migraine-related vertigo may occur in conjunction with or separate from the migraine headache.
If you're experiencing any form of repetitive or chronic dizziness, contact Arvin K. Rao MD PLLC and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists in Littleton}.