Online Hearing Test Schedule Appointment
Sebring, FL: (863) 385-3497

Hearing Blog

Whoops! Got a little dizzy!

March 27, 2024

Sometimes it happens.  You catch yourself kinda half stepping or leaning a bit too far or too quick. If you feel off balance or sometimes dizzy there is help available.  Our hearing mechanism controls so many intricate details in our lives.  Our ears provide many wonderful things for us.  They of course give us the ability to enjoy the sounds in our environment.  Birds chirping and leaves rustling.  The splashing sound of fish jumping in the lake as the sun sets.  Conversations among friends after a long day at work.   The outer part of the ear provides us with our direction of sound.  The ear wax (cerumen), oil, and hairs that line our ear canal provide us with natural mosquito and bug control by keeping the little critters on the outside of our head.

As we are enjoying all of the aforementioned attributes, our ears are processing and positioning our bodies.  Our inner ear encompasses the Semi-circular Canals.  These are three tubes that contain fluid and crystals.   These tubes give us horizontal, vertical, and perpendicular balance. 

The structure is circular.  If you take your finger and thumb and make a circle this is what the tube or canal looks like.  So their are three such structures in your inner ear.  One sets flat, one sets vertical like a Ferris wheel and the other is slanted for perpendicular balance.  These tubes are interconnected. As we move our heads the fluid and the crystals shift throughout the mechanism to keep our balance. 

Sometimes the crystals that keep the fluid moving properly get jammed up.   When that happens then we experience balance issues.  Dizziness that suddenly occurs.  Why do they get jammed?             We are in constant motion.  Usually.  We are also creatures of habit.    Perhaps you always sleep on your right side.  That's 6-8 hours or more with the crystals sitting in one position.   Perhaps you tilt your head to one side when you read the morning paper because you see better out of one eye or it feels better to your back.   Maybe you have been in an accident that jolted your body.   Hormonal changes also contribute.  Many things can cause the crystals to get jammed up together.  Normally as our heads move;  the crystals and fluid gently flow to provide a smooth transition of direction.   If the crystals are not separated and spaced properly in the canals when you move your head or your body in a certain direction the crystals will move like a 'landslide' and thus cause spinning or dizziness.  Some people will become nauseated.  Sometimes the room will turn black and you feel like you are on a merry-go-round in the dark.    (I write this from experience!  Lol).

This type of dizziness or vertigo is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.  It is the most common form of vertigo and can usually be treated in just two visits to a doctor's office.  The sooner you have it attended to the quicker the result.   Physical Therapists and Ear Nose and Throat Doctors will administer specific physical maneuvers to "reposition" the crystals in the inner ear.  If you notice that your step is not quite right, or you have a little slip when you move your head to the side or maybe when you look up you may be experiencing BPPV.    Contact your Hearing Health Care Provider, ENT doctor, or your family physician for a referral to a Physical Therapist for solving your balance issues.  To Hear Better Is To Live Better!


Video content here