Dizziness, Vertigo and Imbalance
Dizziness, vertigo (spinning type dizziness) and balance problems can severely affect a person’s quality of life. Listening carefully to a patient’s detailed history and confirming it with a thorough examination of the ears and neurological system are key to finding out the cause of these problems. A hearing test (audiogram) is also important as hearing may also be affected.
There are many causes, including:
- Benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV)
- Vestibular neuronitis (inflammation of the inner ear)
- Vestibular migraine (migraine-associated dizziness)
- Meniere’s disease (recurrent attacks of vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus and ear fullness)
- Labyrinthitis (infection of the inner ear affecting hearing too)
Some conditions such as BPPV can be simply treated with a specialised Epley Manoeuvre to get rid of the free-floating calcium particles within the inner ear that are causing the vertigo.
Other conditions such as Meniere’s disease and vestibular migraine may need medication with careful titration of the type and dosage prescribed to control symptoms adequately. Sometimes, in cases of labyrinthitis or Meniere’s disease, which may present with sudden hearing loss, a course of steroid tablets or steroid injections into the ear itself may need to be undertaken to maximise recovery.