23 August 2019

Often, people suffering from vertigo – that is to say, a strong sensation of dizziness and a loss of balance – don’t realize that these symptoms can be related to a problem with their inner ear. To clarify the issue in your mind and to treat the cause of your vertigo as quickly as possible, it’s recommended in many cases to consult an ENT specialist.

The different types of vertigo

– Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

– Rotatory vertigo

– Physiological vertigo

– Pathological vertigo

– Psychological vertigo

– Central and peripheral vertigo

– Cervical vertigo

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), as well as all types of vertigo related to an inner ear problem or infection, are conditions that must be observed and treated by an ear care professional – that is to say, by an ENT specialist.

Each consisting of three canals filled with liquid, the ears can become blocked or obstructed by a buildup of small particles or crystals that gradually detach themselves from their walls – that is to say, from the inner ear canals. Detached from the walls, the crystals get dispersed in the fluid of the ears and then accumulate at the bottom of the semicircular canals of the inner ear. It’s this accumulation of crystals that – during certain movements – can block one side and thus cause inaccurate information to be sent to the brain, which leads to vertigo. These dizzy spells are called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and can be treated very quickly (around 1 to 3 sessions) by an ENT specialist, who performs specific therapeutic manoeuvres.

Vestibular neuritis

Vestibular neuritis is a condition that appears in the form of an inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which is located inside the ears. It causes very intense dizziness that appears suddenly and is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting but no suspicious neurological or auditory signs. The symptoms of vestibular neuritis generally occur after a viral infection of the inner ear due to the partial or total destruction of certain components of the ear. Even though it’s benign, this condition must be treated as quickly as possible by an ENT specialist, generally with powerful anti-vertigo medications. Vestibular rehabilitation may then be necessary to prevent the vertigo from reappearing.

Ménière’s disease

This common disease, which affects the inner ear, involves major spells of exhausting rotatory vertigo, which are accompanied by nausea, sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. Other symptoms also occur frequently, such as tinnitus, ringing in the ears, a “blocked ear” feeling, sound distortion, or momentary deafness. The dizziness related to Ménière’s disease is caused by a hypertension of the endolymphatic fluid in the inner ear. People who suffer from Ménière’s disease are also often in a state of stress, anxiety, fatigue, or emotional shock, which requires a complete otoneurological review in order to treat the spells but also to prevent long-term risks. Generally, anti-vertigo and antiemetic treatments are prescribed by the ENT specialist to patients to immediately treat the symptoms. However, a more advanced treatment plan should also be established to reduce the pressure of the fluids in the inner ear. An antihistamine treatment and a salt-free and diuretic diet may also be effective. In case of failure, it’s possible to operate surgically by inserting an antibiotic into the eardrum.

Consulting an ENT specialist in case of vertigo therefore seems to be an essential step, since many cases of vertigo are the result of an infection located in the inner ear.