You can very quickly be knocked off your feet by vertigo. Dizziness and nausea are frequently the first signs of vertigo. But when a severe bout of vertigo strikes, the world around you can become so confusing that it can be tough to get to a seat.
When the majority of individuals think of vertigo, they may naturally blame the condition on the brain or eyes. And that might feel like it makes sense, after all, it’s your eyes that can’t see straight and your brain that makes you feel sick.
But it’s likely to be your ears that are the source of the issue, not your eyes.
Good Balance Depends Profoundly on Your Ears
It’s typical for people to describe vertigo as the feeling of losing balance. Everything feels like it’s spinning despite the fact that the ground is solid. And deep within your inner ear is probably where the problem is coming from. Within your inner ear, there are tiny canals that hold both fluid and little hairs.
Your brain can ascertain your body’s orientation based on the location of the fluid inside the canal. This system usually works so efficiently that you always recognize which way is up and which is down.
That is, until the system fails. When this system malfunctions or is disrupted, your brain can’t understand the signals. This will result in vertigo.
What Could be Causing Your Vertigo?
If vertigo is being caused by your inner ear, there are a number of likely culprits.
Fluid in the middle ear: A buildup of fluid in your middle ear can cause the whole system to go wonky and send confusing signals to your brain. This fluid accumulation can develop for several reasons (like an ear infection). If this is the source of your vertigo, you may also find sounds to be muffled, like when you’re underwater.
Dislodged middle ear crystals: You have little calcium crystals in your middle ear that help detect movement. Occasionally, when these crystals become displaced, 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 short periods of time or when you turn your head, it’s these crystals that are the most likely culprit (a condition known as BPPV).
Meniere’s Disease: This condition of the middle ear can impact both balance and hearing. Symptoms include vertigo (and related nausea), loss of hearing, and possibly migraines. Your hearing specialist might be able to suggest therapies to deal with the symptoms of Menier’s as it slowly progresses.
Vestibular Neuritis: When your vertigo is significant and constant, it’s likely you may be suffering from something called vestibular neuritis. This is a swelling of the nerve in your inner ear. Vestibular neuritis is “self-limiting” because most experts think it’s brought on by a virus or something similar. It may last for a few days or weeks and then subside.
These four conditions aren’t the only reasons why you could be experiencing vertigo or nausea. Nor are they the only middle-ear-related issues that can cause these symptoms. But these are some really common ones and they give you some idea of how problems in your middle can affect your wellbeing.
Is There Anything You Can do?
So, what should you do if you’re feeling dizzy or have experienced vertigo? Come in and let us help you figure it out.