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A Guide to Vertigo

woman in moderate pain or distress

One of the most common things that a lot of people forget when it comes to their ear health is that their ears not only affect their ability to hear but also their ability to balance. The issues that you may experience with your balance, vertigo is perhaps the most common. Vertigo is a balance disorder closely related to your ears and this means that an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor can help you find both the cause and effective treatment. Here are some things that you need to know about vertigo.

What is vertigo?

Simply put, vertigo is the feeling of being off-balance in some way, even if you are on the ground and the room around you is entirely still. Most commonly, vertigo comes and goes and is often triggered by movements of your head. Because your inner ears play such a crucial role in noting changes in your movements, position and gravity, vertigo is often associated with your ears. 

Vertigo can often result from signals from your inner ear that don’t match the reality of the situation that you’re in. This can cause you to experience feelings of spinning, rocking or tilting that leave you feeling off-balance.

Symptoms of vertigo

The most obvious symptom of vertigo is the feeling of being off balance but it’s far from the only symptom that you may experience. You may also experience profuse sweating, changing to your ability to hear, a ringing sound in your ears, an increase of pressure in your ear, headaches, involuntary eye movement, anxiety or a feeling of exhaustion. Any of these symptoms combined with a feeling of being off-balance can be a clear sign that you may be experiencing vertigo.

What causes vertigo?

Vertigo can be caused by a wide variety of different things, some short-term, other more long-term. Short term causes of vertigo can include the use of certain medications or experiencing trauma to your head or neck. There are also medical conditions like Meniere’s disease which is an ear health condition of which vertigo is a primary symptom or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which is caused by tiny calcium particles in the ear moving out of place and interfering with the inner ear’s ability to send signals to the brain.

How is it treated?

An ear, nose and throat doctor may recommend one of a variety of different treatments for vertigo. Much of the time the treatment that is offered will depend heavily on what it is that is causing the vertigo in the first place. If it is caused by an infection, then a course of antibiotics will likely be prescribed and there are also a range of movement and exercise programs that can help with cases of BPPV. There is also a chance that surgery could be necessary to remove a tumor from the inner ear or to drain an infection.

If you are experiencing vertigo then the best thing that you can do is to get in touch with an ear, nose and throat specialist.