Causes of Dizziness Related to the Ear

Causes of Dizziness Related to the Ear

If you frequently find yourself feeling dizzy, there are a wide range of potential causes that could be to blame. Understanding the different possibilities can help you find the right treatment moving forward, but being able to sift through them can feel daunting. Here we will go over some of the most common and major causes of dizziness due to issues with your ear.

Dizziness can be defined as a sensation of unsteadiness or the experience of a spinning motion, or any form of movement when there is actually none. It could be an isolated incident, a recurring but temporary event, or a serious ongoing condition.

The classification of dizziness can further be broken down into types based on the causative factor, with vertigo being the most frequently occurring type.

Our sense of balance and homeostasis is managed by our inner ear. Any disruption, such as an infection in the inner ear, can result in a feeling of imbalance and episodes of dizziness, a condition referred to as vertigo. The onset of vertigo can be attributed to:

  • complications or disorders in the central nervous system
  • issues related to the inner ear

3 Major Causes of Dizziness Due to Ear Problems

Labyrinthitis, or vestibular neuritis, is a condition that involves inflammation of the inner ear. This results in bouts of dizziness and can occasionally even lead to hearing loss. Vertigo instigated by such an ear infection is typically due to a viral or bacterial agent, such as Epstein-Barr virus, rubella, mumps, measles, influenza, hepatitis, polio, and herpes virus. Symptoms of dizziness, along with other associated symptoms, persist for as long as the inflammation in the inner ear continues.

Infections resulting in coughs and common colds can also provoke infections in the inner ear, subsequently causing transient episodes of vertigo and dizziness. This ear infection, predominantly viral in nature, is generally harmless and tends to recede within six weeks.

Meniere’s disease is another cause of vertigo and dizziness. The disease is marked by three characteristic symptoms:

  • A buzzing sensation in the ear, known as tinnitus;
  • Vertigo or dizziness, and hearing loss. Individuals suffering from this disease experience alternating periods of symptom-free intervals and bouts of hearing loss and severe dizziness. These symptoms can appear suddenly and vanish just as unexpectedly;
  • The precise cause of Meniere’s disease remains unclear, but it is speculated to be triggered by infections in the inner ear, allergies, head injuries, and genetic factors.

Other ear-related causes of dizziness include:

Acoustic neuroma is a less common form of vertigo. Its symptoms encompass hearing loss, a ringing sound in one ear, and dizziness. This type of dizziness is caused by a tumor developing in the nerve tissue of the inner ear.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is when the patient has a sensation of their head spinning when it is actually stationary. This is caused by a tiny calcium particle, known as an otolith, moving from the gravity-sensing part of the ear to the part that helps sense head position. The Epley maneuver, a two-minute procedure performed in the doctor’s office, can correct this condition.

Dandy’s syndrome is another form of dizziness that causes a bouncing sensation where everything appears to move up and down. This type of vertigo is often caused by antibiotic medication with toxic side effects on the ear. Over time, the condition generally improves.

What Can People Do About Their Dizziness?

While some people may try to get around their dizzy spells and dismiss them as a part of life, getting to the bottom of their underlying causes can help catch potentially dangerous conditions before they can worsen. Knowing how to identify these problems early can help improve quality of life and give you the dizzy free life you deserve is vital. Salerno Medical Associates, a division of Nirvana Healthcare Network, has provided comprehensive primary care services in East Orange, NJ, and the surrounding communities since the 1950s. Meet your medical team and schedule your next appointment to get to the bottom of your dizzy spells today.