If you have vertigo, you might feel like the world is spinning out of control, even while you're standing still. Many people don't know where to turn when they experience the symptoms of a balance disorder like vertigo. Here’s what you need to know to get treatment and feel steady on your feet again.
Almost everyone experiences vertigo from time to time. It's normal to feel a spinning, dizzy sensation after going on an amusement park ride, spinning in circles, or even taking a boat ride. But when you have a balance disorder, that sensation is chronic, and it can arise without any external cause.
Your sense of balance—known as equilibrium—comes from communication between your inner ear and brain. When you move, fluid and hairs within your inner ear shift. This sends a signal to the brain to adjust and keep your body balanced. Vertigo occurs when the inner ear cannot function properly, usually as the result of some type of damage.
The most common cause of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which occurs when calcium crystals move from their normal location and float throughout the inner ear. Other common causes include viral infections and head injuries. You may also experience a balance disorder if you have hearing loss. Hearing loss does not cause balance disorders, but because the inner ear is crucial to both balance and hearing, damage to it can impair both senses.
Vertigo specifically creates a spinning sensation, while other balance disorders can cause similar symptoms such as lightheadedness and a floating sensation. Since balance disorders can appear alongside hearing problems, make careful note of all your symptoms. If you're experiencing hearing loss, earaches, or tinnitus, let us know. This will ensure we address both sets of issues—balance and hearing.
Since balance is located in the inner ear and often associated with hearing problems, we are your go-to resource. We can perform tests to verify your diagnosis and help you determine whether you've also experienced hearing loss. We can use a combination of several tests to pinpoint your exact problem. These can include hearing exams, blood tests, imaging, and measurements of muscle movements.
Balance disorders due to viral illnesses often improve on their own, so you may not need treatment if a virus is the underlying cause. In other cases, you might take medication to treat vertigo, and if hearing loss is a factor, we can help you pick a hearing aid or assistive device to address damage to your auditory system.
Are you ready to find a treatment plan that works for your balance disorder? Contact us to set up an appointment, and we'll work together to keep you on your feet and hearing clearly.