Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, off balance or like you are spinning can signal a vestibular (inner ear) disorder. North Kansas City Hospital's physicians and Physical Therapy Department can help.
Symptoms of Inner Ear Disorders
It’s important to describe what you feel to your health care provider to get a proper diagnosis. When reporting your symptoms, be aware of how long they lasted (seconds, minutes, hours, days) and what you were doing when they occurred. Try to distinguish if you’re experiencing one or all of the following:
- Dizziness – feeling faint, lightheaded or like you’re going to pass out
- Vertigo – feeling that either you or your surroundings are spinning or rotating
- Disequilibrium – being off balance or unsteady sometime accompanied by dizziness or vertigo
Talk with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat specialist). You may also be referred for vestibular therapy.
If you have more than one of the above, make sure you let your physician know details about each symptom.
The ear consists of external, middle, and inner structures. The eardrum and the three tiny bones conduct sound from the eardrum to the cochlea.
How Vestibular Therapy Can Help
Your sense of balance comes from different systems in your body:
- Eyes give you a sense of where you are in space.
- Muscles and joints tell you if you’re moving or not.
- The inner ear tells you what direction you’re moving.
All this information is processed in several different areas in your brain. If you have a problem in any one of these systems you can have difficulty with your balance and experience different problems. Physical therapy can help by improving the systems specifically affected and by teaching you ways to compensate to stay safe and prevent falls.
Learn more about these related topics at our online Health Encyclopedia:
The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) offers helpful information for people with vestibular (inner ear balance) disorders.
For more information on vestibular rehabilitation services at North Kansas City Hospital, call 816-691-1795.