What is Vertigo
Vertigo is frequently misused to describe a fear of heights. In fact, people experience it when they are standing completely still and are in a steady environment. Vertigo can be experienced by people from different age groups, although it becomes more common as age progresses.
It is always advisable to consult your GP if you have vertigo to identify the underlying cause. Vertigo should not be mistaken for dizziness, motion sickness or fear of heights, although the symptoms may look/feel alike. Besides the false feeling of movement, vertigo might include a sense of disorientation and unsteadiness, nausea, and vomiting. The sufferers may also report experiencing unusual eye movements (nystagmus), headache, tinnitus or hearing loss.
The severity of vertigo as well as its duration differs from person to person. The feeling might occur accidentally and diminish in a few minutes, but it may also affect the sufferer’s life on a regular basis and last for several hours or even longer, causing great distress and discomfort.
We recommend you consult your local medical professional if you have concerns regarding vertigo, particularly if the symptoms last for a long period of time and reoccur regularly. Below we assess what causes vertigo, highlighting some of its more common causes.
What Causes Vertigo?
There are different causes or underlying health conditions that may lead to vertigo. One of the most common reasons are disorders in the function of the inner ear. The inner ear not only plays a crucial role in the process of hearing but is also responsible for the balance of the whole body (see "Does Hearing Loss affect Balance"). Compromising this can lead to a balance disorder. Problems with the inner ear can cause vertigo. These can include Menière's Disease.
Meniere's Disease affects both balance and hearing, it's symptoms are short and sudden outbursts of balance and hearing problems, also accompanied by ringing in the ears, severe nausea and hearing disorders that may be permanent. Doctors use medicines to help treat the symptoms of Meniere's disease, but sometimes the condition requires surgical intervention.
Vestibular NeuritisCaused by an infection of the vestibular nerve, which is located in the inner ear, and may lead to severe cases of vertigo lasting for a long period of time. The infection might be a result of a cold or flu and is unlikely to lead to hearing loss. Usually, the symptoms go away with time, although in some cases medications may be prescribed.
LabyrinthitisThis is an inflammation of the inner ear. Causes are viral or bacterial infection, head trauma or different allergies. It may lead to a permanent hearing loss. Other unpleasant side effects are severe anxiety and panic attacks.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)Characterized by short and acute vertigo attacks. These usually occur when a person suddenly turns their head, stands up or bends over. The condition is a result of disorders in the inner ear and in particular the position of the otoliths in the utricle. It is common mostly amongst elderly people and is unlikely to lead to serious problems. Other conditions that may lead to vertigo include epilepsy, tumors, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, and head injuries. If you have any balance or hearing difficulties you should immediately consult a medical professional. This article is for information purposes only and you should not use it for self-diagnosis.
Vertigo TreatmentThere are several vertigo treatments available, but this will depend on the severity and defining symptoms of the condition. However, in some cases, vertigo can be improved naturally over time. Some popular treatment methods include:
- The Epley maneuver, a series of simple head movements, can treat BPPV.
- Medicines, such as prochlorperazine and antihistamines, can help tackle early stages or most cases of vertigo.
- Vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT), a series of exercises for people with dizziness and balance problems can be beneficial.
Hearing loss and hearing testsOne of the most common forms of hearing impairment is sensorineural hearing loss (SHL). One of the main symptoms of SHL is vertigo and may lead to diminished hearing if left untreated. However, SHL can be managed with digital hearing aids. We have created our very own online hearing test to help those who believe they may be suffering from some form of hearing impairment. It's free, quick, and you will receive your results instantly which will indicate if you should take further action to prevent hearing loss.
About Hearing Direct
We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. Hearing Direct offers a wide range of affordable products, as well as information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing. We sell:
- Hearing aids,
- Hearing Aid Accessories such as earplugs,
- and amplified devices such as super loud alarm clocks and amplified phones.