Dizziness can be a complex condition with many possible causes. It is a common, yet often challenging complaint we see in our otolaryngology practice. It is estimated that four out of ten American will experience dizziness at least once in their lifetime bad enough to see a physician. Dizziness often results from a balance disorder and can cause unsteadiness and a spinning sensation. Balance disorders can develop from certain medical conditions, medications, or an abnormality in the inner ear or brain. Effects of dizziness can severely impact daily activities and prolonged symptoms can often lead to depression and other emotional trauma.
Symptoms of A Balance Disorder
- Spinning or floating sensation
- Instability and increased risk for injury
In our ENT practice, we see and treat cases of dizziness that arise from abnormalities in the inner ear. Within the inner ear is a collection of maze-like structures made of bone and soft tissue known as the labyrinth or vestibular system. It is this vestibular system that sends messages of balance and the body’s position to the brain. Fluid found in the tiny bones of the vestibular system tell your brain when your head tilts, if you are upside down, etc… It is extremely helpful in keeping us upright but when it malfunctions it can dramatically affect an individual’s daily life and wellbeing.
Common Types of Balance Disorders
- Meniere’s Disease – A disorder of the inner ear characterized by intermittent episodes of vertigo (spinning sensation), ear pressure, ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and hearing loss.
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) – A condition characterized by brief episodes of vertigo that occur with changes in body positions, especially head movements that require looking up or down and turning over in bed.
- Vestibular Labyrinthitis – An inner ear disorder that causes dizziness or vertigo along with hearing loss.
- Vestibular Neuronitis – Another inner ear disorder characterized by severe, sudden vertigo but no hearing loss.
If you or someone you know is struggling with persistent or recurrent dizziness and/or imbalance, contact our office today to set up an appointment with Dr. Bailey. At our Dizziness and Balance Center we will evaluate your symptoms, perform any necessary diagnostic tests and exams. Depending on the cause and severity of symptoms, treatment will be determined and implemented.