How Your Ears May Be Affecting Your Balance

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Ears, Nose, and Throat: A Health Blog Your ears, nose, and throat are three of the most intricate body parts. When something goes wrong with any of these body parts, you're not only uncomfortable, but you'll likely have trouble breathing, and you may even lose your balance. These parts are so intricate that there are doctors who specialize in treating just ear, nose, and throat ailments. Whether you suffer from asthma, sinus infections, recurring ear infections, or something else entirely, a visit to the ear, nose, and throat doctor is in order. We designed this website to give you a better idea of what to expect, and also to share information about the various disorders and diseases these doctors treat. Happy reading.



If you should regularly feel dizzy, as though you have vertigo, and are unsteady on your feet, who should you consult? Surprisingly, the most appropriate medical professional may be an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist. You can ask for a referral from your physician, or make an appointment yourself. But how can a doctor who specializes in disorders affecting your ears, nose, and throat help with dizziness? 

Orthostatic Hypotension

Identifying the cause of your dizziness and vertigo can involve a process of elimination. If the episodes exclusively follow a change to your physical position (affecting you immediately after getting up from a prone or sitting position), you may be experiencing orthostatic hypotension. This is anecdotally called a head rush—as it feels like a rush of blood to the head, although it's in fact caused by a sudden (and temporary) reduction in blood pressure.

Managing the Condition

You may be referred back to your physician if the ENT suspects that your symptoms are related to orthostatic hypotension. Treatment (involving medication and lifestyle changes) is possible, but all that might be needed is to exercise caution when standing up. Should your dizziness and vertigo be unrelated to a change in your physical position, orthostatic hypotension is unlikely. A thorough ear examination from an ENT can shed some light on the situation. 

Inside Your Inner Ear

Your inner ear contains a section called a utricle. This utricle naturally contains an otolith, which is a crystalline formation of calcium. If the otolith loosens, it can move to other sections of the inner ear, including the semicircular canals that help your senses to note the rotation of your head—which helps you to maintain your balance. A mobile otolith can disrupt your balance, and be the cause of your dizziness, and the condition is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). How is BPPV treated?

Watchful Waiting

In some cases, BPPV is self-correcting. If this is your first experience with dizziness and vertigo, your ENT may recommend watchful waiting, with the intention that fluid flow in your otolith normalizes itself, and your symptoms dissipate. But more decisive action can be needed for recurring or particularly pronounced symptoms.

Treatment Techniques

Your ENT may opt to perform the Epley maneuver (named after the doctor who developed the technique), which is a series of head movements intended to use gravity to reposition your displaced otolith. The maneuver can be performed under supervision from a doctor to ensure understanding of the technique—after which it can be performed at home without supervision. Should it prove to be ineffective, more intensive treatment options are available, such as surgery.

Although it might seem strange to consult an ENT when you experience bouts of dizziness, it's quite likely that the cause for your symptoms is located deep within your ear. For more information, contact an ENT near you.

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