The ability to maintain balance is an automatic body function that we take for
granted until illness or injury occurs. We maintain our balance with the
coordination of our eyes, our sense of touch, and our vestibular system, located in
the inner ear.
The vestibular system is comprised of two organs, known as otolithic organs and three semicircular canals next to the ears. The canals are fluid-filled chambers that are lined with hair cells containing nerve sensors.
When we move, the movement of fluid in the canals stimulates these hair cells. A signal is then transmitted to the brain where it is interpreted as movement. The brain also receives information from the eyes and the sense of touch. All three parts of the balance system must communicate the same information to the brain in order to maintain good balance. If one of these systems reports conflicting information to the brain, the result may be dizziness.