More than 2 million people visit the doctor each year with complaints of dizziness, vertigo, or motion sickness. Balance disorders are the number one health complaint of patients over the age of 70, and they are the cause of 50 percent of falls experienced by the elderly.
Your body maintains its balance, or equilibrium, through a complex relationship with many parts of the body, including the inner and middle ear. Less than ten percent of patients with balance and vestibular disorders are ever evaluated by a specialist. At The Comprehensive ENT Center of Texas, our highly trained audiologist, Dr. Spinuzza, uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to evaluate each patient and plan a customized course of treatment.
The most common balance complaint is peripheral vertigo. This is usually caused by inner ear inflammation from a cold or virus. Other common inner ear disorders that may elicit vertigo, dizziness, or disequilibrium include:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is caused by problems in the inner ear. This is most commonly caused by calcium particles that have broken off from otoliths, or stones, located in the utricle that has slipped into the semi-circular canals. Symptoms include repeated episodes of short-term vertigo, a spinning sensation that is provoked by a change in the position of the head.
- Meniere’s Disease is an inner ear disorder that can affect both hearing and balance. It can cause episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus, and the sensation of fullness in the ear. Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear. It is usually caused by a virus, but it can also be caused by a bacterial infection.
- Vestibular Neuronitis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain.