Balance Disorders Explained

man balancing on a log, man in the woods

Feeling dizzy or momentarily losing your balance is something that most people have experienced at some point in time. Those who have can recall the sensation of falling or lacking control and stability. Imagine, then, what it must feel like to suffer from a balance disorder on a semi-regular or regular basis. Symptoms of a balance disorder include: dizziness, vertigo, staggering while walking, lightheadedness, faintness, a floating sensation, blurred vision, confusion, and disorientation. There are many different types of balance disorders, below we explain some of the most common:

Types of Balance Disorders

1. Vertigo. A specific change in the position of your head may trigger an episode of vertigo, or an intense feeling of spinning. Vertigo may be brought on by conditions that affect the inner ear as well as from a head injury.

2. Labyrinthitis. A cold or flu virus can infect the deep channels in your ear, where there is a lot of fluid, and cause swelling. This swelling causes confusion to the brain and results in vertigo and, in some cases, vomiting, and tinnitus.

3. Vestibular Neuronitis. This disorder occurs when a virus causes the vestibular nerve that connects your inner ear and your brain to swell. Dizziness, unsteadiness, and nausea are symptoms of vestibular neuronitis.

4. Meniere’s Disease. The causes of Meniere’s Disease are unknown, but the condition will bring on lengthy episodes of vertigo, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, tinnitus, and pressure in the ear.

5. Perilymph Fistula. PLF is caused by a tear in tissue, possibly from head injuries, extreme changes in air pressure, and chronic ear infections, that results in inner ear fluid leaking into the middle ear. Balance problems, sensitivity to loud noises, and ear ringing can be a result. Surgery may be needed.

6. Vestibular Migraines. Vestibular migraines occur when certain foods, stress, and other migraine causes inflame the vestibular nerve. Sufferers may experience dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and ringing in the ears.

If you suspect you may be living with a balance disorder, please call Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat at 508-746-8977 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.