Feeling dizzy and lightheaded can be an unsettling feeling but it’s common and treatable. It’s important to remember that dizziness and vertigo are two separate conditions often confused. Dizziness is more of a general faintness while vertigo is the sensation of the environment around you spinning.
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 and 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 the sensation of dizziness, symptoms may include headache, nausea, and 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, tumor, medication side effect or metabolic disorders. Therefore you should always seek medical attention if you experience ongoing or repetitive dizziness.
Symptoms & Causes
There are many symptoms that can be related to dizziness such as weakness, confusion, dry mouth, pain in your chest, eyes, or head, tiredness, and lack of balance. The symptoms of vertigo are similar but the sensation is more akin to stepping off a merry-go-round after spinning for a while.
Common causes of dizziness:
Acoustic Neuroma An acoustic neuroma is a benign growth on the Auditory or hearing 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 bursts of dizziness that happen most often as a result of head movement. There is no known cause for BPPV. It usually resolves itself in a matter of days or can be successfully treated using the Canalith Repositioning Maneuver or Gans Procedure.
Inflammation of the Inner Ear Dizziness may be one symptom of an inner ear infection.
Meniere’s Disease Meniere’s Disease is characterized by long periods of dizziness, lasting from 30 to 60 minutes or more. It is accompanied by symptoms such as ringing in the ears, 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.
Migraines Some migraines (vestibular migraines) can cause a feeling of 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.
We offer the Canalith Repositioning or Gans Procedure to treat Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), the most common cause of dizziness. Our treatment success rate for patients with true BPPV dizziness is over 80%.
If you’re experiencing any form of repetitive or chronic dizziness, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our Otolaryngologists.