Can Ear Problems Cause Dizziness?

ear problems

Do ear problems cause dizziness?

Most people experience dizziness at some point in their life. The terms “dizziness” and “vertigo” are often used interchangeably, but they mean two different things. Vertigo is the feeling of being dizzy caused by spinning. You are still and the environment seems to be spinning around you. Dizziness is the feeling of being unbalanced without spinning. There are many causes of dizziness, and some of them are caused by your ears.

Inflammation or Infection of the Inner Ear

Sometimes, when you come down with a cold you suddenly get severe dizziness and it won’t go away! You also may feel sick to your stomach and have difficulty keeping your balance. This could be caused by inflammation or infection of the inner ear. This is called acute vestibular neuritis. It means that the inner ear or the nerve that connects the brain to the inner ear is infected or swollen.

Infections in the inner ear are usually viral, but infections in the middle ear are more bacterial. The onset of the acute phase happens quickly. You may notice it when you wake up in the morning. When the nerve is inflamed, you may notice a decrease in hearing. Viral infections are difficult to treat and many times the infection must run its course.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) happens when you change positions. It may happen when you sit or stand too quickly, turn your head, or when you get out of bed. The symptoms usually last no more than a minute. This condition is rarely serious, but it can be quite annoying. It is caused by the movement of small crystals in your ear that make you sensitive to gravity. When the crystals travel to the wrong location in your ear, it causes the canal in your ear to become sensitive to the position of your head.

If benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is bothering you, The physicians at Colorado ENT and Allergy can perform a series of movements called the Canalith Repositioning Procedure or Epley Maneuver. This will help get those crystals back in the proper place.

Meniere’s Disease

The symptoms of Meniere’s disease can begin at any age, but it is most common after the age of 40. This usually involves severe vertigo accompanied by tinnitus or a sense of fullness in your ear. This is caused by a buildup of fluid in your ear. You may also experience a hearing loss with Meniere’s disease. Unlike the fluid that builds up in the middle ear, this fluid is not easy to be drained. This causes inflammation to the nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain. The difference between this and an inner ear infection is that Meniere’s disease keeps reoccurring.

When to See The ENT For Dizziness And Vertigo

Occasional dizziness or vertigo shouldn’t be a cause for concern. But if you have symptoms that last for a week or your dizziness or vertigo seems to be getting worse, it is time to see the ENT. They have the knowledge and skills to expertly diagnose the cause and prescribe a course of treatment. Contact us to make an appointment today!

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