Most of us experience dizziness from time to time: Maybe we stand up too quickly or we’re dehydrated. In most cases, these types of dizziness are temporary and go away when the underlying issue is addressed.
But dizziness can happen for other reasons, too, including problems involving your ears and your body’s built-in balance system, called the vestibular system. If you have chronic or recurrent dizziness, seeing an ENT doctor is important for determining the root cause so it can be treated.
ENT Specialists is a leader in patient-centered dizziness therapies for patients in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah, Here’s how our team can help you feel better.
Getting to the root cause of dizziness
About 15% of Americans suffer from dizziness — that’s millions of people suffering from uncomfortable symptoms on a regular basis. Worse, dizziness is also a leading cause of falls and injuries, especially among older adults.
Temporary dizziness can happen if you have allergies or even if you catch a cold or develop a sinus infection. You can become dizzy if your glucose (blood sugar) level drops or if you have an undiagnosed and untreated vision problem.
But for many people, the cause of chronic or recurrent dizziness winds up being inside their ears — specifically, the inner ear, which plays a big role in balance. The first step in resolving dizzy symptoms is to meet with a member of our team.
During your evaluation, we’ll ask lots of questions about your symptoms, the medications you’re taking, and your personal and family medical histories. We’ll also ask about any other symptoms you might be experiencing, such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, or blurry vision.
Typically, we recommend auditory testing to check for ear-related issues, and sometimes we also recommend blood tests, electrocardiograms, vision tests, or blood tests to confirm or rule out specific problems. And of course, we also examine your ears, throat, and sinuses to look for possible issues that could be causing your symptoms.
The important role of the vestibular system
Many people with chronic dizziness have problems with their vestibular system, the system that helps us maintain balance. When this system grows awry, we can wind up with feelings of dizziness or vertigo (the sensation that the room is spinning).
Located largely in the inner ear, the vestibular system relies on tiny “hair cells” to detect three types of motion: tilting, up-and-down movements, and side-to-side motions. The cells send signals to your brain, which interprets the information and adjusts your body to maintain balance.
Balance problems can happen when hair cells are damaged or when they die off as we get older (one reason older people are more prone to dizziness). Nerve-related problems can interfere with signals sent from the hair cells to your brain. Fluid buildup due to infections or diseases can also throw off the signaling system, causing persistent or recurrent dizzy sensations.
If we determine that your dizziness is related to an inner ear problem, we’ll discuss all your treatment options, which could include medication to help relieve your symptoms, balance exercises, or additional evaluations to identify deeper causes, like neurological issues.
Help for your symptoms
Chronic or recurrent dizziness isn’t just unpleasant — it’s also not normal. In fact, sometimes it can be a sign of a serious medical problem.
The first step in feeling better is finding out what’s causing your dizziness. If you’re having dizzy spells, don’t ignore them. Book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at ENT Specialists today and learn how we can help.