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Ohio Head & Neck Surgeons provide answers to the most frequently asked questions and best care practices for ear, nose, and throat (ENT) diseases and disorders, allergy, hearing loss, and cosmetic treatments.

Balance Disorders

Balance problems can have many different causes, including circulatory issues, inner ear disturbances, or infection. Vertigo is the sensation of spinning or the room spinning around you. In contrast, disequilibrium is a feeling of being off-balance or falling to one side. Lastly, pre-syncope is a feeling of nearly fainting or passing out.

Imbalance is especially troublesome in older adults, who are at a higher risk of falling. For younger individuals, balance issues can create problems both at home and at work.

Helpful Hints When Dizzy

Here are tips to help diminish the dizziness:

  • Change your position slowly, especially when going from a lying down or sitting position to standing.
  • Look up or down slowly, and only for short periods of time.
  • Turn your head slowly from side to side and move your whole body when doing so.
  • Most cases of vertigo and dizziness are not serious, and either respond to treatment or improve over time. When changing positions quickly, older people sometimes experience dizziness due to circulatory problems.
  • Follow-up visits are important if the dizziness or vertigo persists.

Understanding Balance Problems

More than 2 million people visit their doctor each year complaining of dizziness. Some people describe their balance problems by saying that they feel dizzy or lightheaded. This feeling of imbalance without a sensation of spinning is rarely due to an inner ear problem. Other people describe their balance problem by using the word “vertigo”, which in Latin means “to turn”. They describe that either they or their surroundings are spinning. Vertigo is usually due to an inner ear problem.

Dizziness can be associated with a central problem resulting in not enough blood and oxygen getting to the brain. This may be due to arteriosclerosis, cervical osteoarthritis, diabetes, or anemia, and generally occurs when getting up from a seated or reclining position.

Vertigo is usually due to an inner ear problem associated with the following conditions: Meniere‚Äôs disease, labyrinthitis, Eustachian tube blockage, or benign positional vertigo. Usually, one ear is affected more than the other. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fullness feeling in the ear, ringing in the ear, and hearing loss. People with true vertigo may have jerky eye movements called “nystagmus”.

A complete medical evaluation is necessary to determine the cause of the dizziness or vertigo. The medical evaluation may include a hearing test, lab tests, videonystagmography (VNG), and an MRI. The medical evaluation, hearing test, and VNG can be completed in our office.

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