Vertigo can hit all of a sudden and knock you off your feet in a hurry. Dizziness and nausea are commonly the first signs of vertigo. But when an extreme bout of vertigo hits, the world around you can become so disorienting that it can be tough to get to a seat.
It may be tempting to instinctively blame vertigo on a problem with the brain or eyes. This might seem reasonable because it’s your brain that makes you feel nauseous and your eyes that don’t see straight.
But it’s likely to be your ears that are the origin of the issue, not your eyes.
Your Ears Are Crucial For Balance
Many people describe vertigo as a feeling similar to losing one’s balance. Everything feels like it’s spinning even though the ground is solid. And deep inside your inner ear is most likely where the problem is originating. Both tiny hairs and fluid are held in the canals of the inner ears.
Based on the position of the fluid in your ears, your brain can ascertain the orientation of your body. This system normally works so efficiently that you always recognize which way is up and which is down.
Until something goes wrong. When this system breaks down or is disrupted, your brain can’t make sense of the signals. And that can cause vertigo.
What’s The Source of Your Vertigo
There could be several things causing your vertigo if it’s related to your inner ear.
Middle ear fluid: An accumulation of fluid in your middle ear can cause the whole system to go wonky and send confusing messages to your brain. An ear infection is one of numerous causes for this type of fluid buildup. If this is the cause of your vertigo, you may also find sounds to be muffled, like when you’re underwater.
Dislodged middle ear crystals: You have tiny calcium crystals in your middle ear that help detect movement. Sometimes, when these crystals become dislodged, they can find their way into the inner ear, where they can mess with your balance and cause both vertigo and nausea. If your vertigo comes and goes for seconds at a time or when you turn your head, it’s these crystals that are the likely cause (a condition known as BPPV).
Meniere’s Disease: Both balance and hearing can be affected by this condition. Vertigo, hearing loss, (and nausea), and potentially migraines are some of the symptoms. Your hearing specialist might be able to recommend therapies to deal with the symptoms of Menier’s as it slowly progresses.
Vestibular Neuritis: You are likely dealing with a condition known as vestibular neuritis if your vertigo is constant and severe. This is an inflammation of the nerve in your inner ear. Most professionals think this inflammation is a result of something like a virus, so vestibular neuritis is usually a “self-limiting” condition. It might last for a few days or weeks and then clear up.
There might be other reasons, besides these, for your nausea or vertigo. And there are other issues you can get in your middle ear which could cause these symptoms. But they are common enough, and they give you an idea of how the middle ear can cause havoc with your sense of balance when something isn’t right.
What Should You do?
So, what should you do if you’re feeling dizzy or have experienced bouts of vertigo? Give us a call. We can help identify what’s causing it.