Dizziness is a feeling of light-headedness or a spinning sensation that causes discomfort. It may be the result of inner-ear dysfunction, head injury, or a reaction to other medications. Consult a provider if symptoms persist.
Dizziness or vertigo is not a disease; it is a symptom of something else. There are many causes of dizziness.
These are some common conditions that can provoke dizziness:
• Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
• Blood Pressure changes/ vascular disturbances
• Chronic ear infections and cholesteatoma
• CVA/ stroke Diabetes Fistula (hole) in the inner ear labyrinth
• Foreign objects in ear canal, impacted earwax
• Head injury, traumatic brain injury, severe whiplash
• Meniere’s disease
• Multiple Sclerosis Ototoxic drugs- medicines such as IV antibiotics or some chemotherapies that are poisonous to the ear and/or balance system.
• Panic/ anxiety attacks Tumors, acoustic neuromas
• Visual disturbances.
If needed, your provider might suggest a balance test to determine the cause of your dizziness. SIU Medicine administers the test called a VNG or Video Nystagmography because we are watching your eye movement during the test. Get a good night’s sleep if possible prior to testing. Be sure to follow all of the instructions on your pre-balance testing form. The eyes are connected to the vestibular system through a reflex pathway, so eye movements on different tests can tell us where in the balance system the problem is occurring, what is causing the problem, and how vision and sensory input are impacting the functional balance system. There is no need to be fearful or worry. If you can keep your eyes open, you can do a balance test. Sometimes patients have a lot of anxiety attached to their dizziness.
You will wear a type of visor for the first part of the test, where you are tracking different targets on a light bar. The second phase of the test is completed wearing what looks like a scuba goggle over your eyes. There is a special camera inside the goggle that records your eyes in the dark. The audiologist will conduct the entire test with you and be able to discuss your test results with you to answer questions.
How are hearing and balance related?
Both the hearing and balance organs are housed in the inner ear. The semicircular canals and otolithic organs are known as the vestibular labyrinth. Sometimes both the hearing and balance organs can be affected by disease.
A full hearing evaluation is commonly ordered along with a vestibular evaluation to get a picture of the “whole ear.”
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