The inner ear serves two important purposes: hearing and balance. Your inner ear monitors directions of motion, movement, and orientation. Experiencing a false sensation of spinning or whirling is known as vertigo, which can occur when the signal to the brain is blocked or misfires. In addition to feeling dizzy, symptoms can include headache, nausea, sensitivity to bright light, tinnitus, motion sickness, fainting, and clumsiness.
Dizziness can be a symptom of a more serious medical problem, such as abnormal blood pressure, heart problems, stroke or metabolic disorders. If you experience repetitive dizziness, you should schedule an appointment for an evaluation.
What are the common causes of dizziness?
- Acoustic Neuroma: an acoustic neuroma is a benign growth on the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. This can cause feelings of dizziness.
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): BPPV occurs when tiny calcium crystals in the ears loosen and move in the wrong part of the ear. Patients may experience sudden, short bursts of dizziness as a result of head movement.
- Inflammation of the inner ear: inflammation due to an inner ear infection can cause dizziness.
- Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is characterized by long periods of dizziness, lasting from 30 to 60 minutes or more. Patients often experience tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ears. Though there is no known cause or cure for Meniere’s Disease, medication and lifestyle changes can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
- Migraines: Vestibular migraines can cause a feeling of imbalance and vertigo, often accompanied by tinnitus or hearing loss. Migraine-related vertigo may occur with or separate from the migraine headache.