What is Vertigo and How Can an ENT Help?
Your ear, nose and throat doctor specializes in treating a range of disorders, including those related to your balance. Vertigo is one of the most common of these disorders, presenting as a sensation of spinning or rocking. Sometimes, vertigo can go away without any need for treatment, but if you have a long-term case or it’s particularly severe, you may want to book an appointment with your ENT doctor.
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is a sense that the world is rocking, spinning or rotating, even when you are completely still. Sometimes, it may be triggered by head or body movements. The dizziness caused by vertigo is distinct from lightheadedness or fainting and is often accompanied by nausea or vomiting. Many of the body’s organs help our brain determine both the space and position of our head and body. The ears play a key role in this process, with our inner ears sending signals about gravity and motion. When something is wrong with the inner ears, it can interfere in these signals which, in turn, can lead to vertigo. This is why an ear, nose and throat doctor is the first specialist you should talk to about vertigo.
Finding the cause
As mentioned, the cause of vertigo can most often be found in the inner ears. There is a range of different causes. Some of the shorter-term causes include injuries to the head or neck, migraines and taking certain medication. There are other causes that an ENT doctor can help you get to the bottom of. Ear infections can cause inflammation of the inner ear, stopping it from conveying the right signals. Non-cancerous tumors such as acoustic neuroma can do much the same thing. Some people suffer from BPPV, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which is the buildup of tiny calcium particles in the ear that can get trapped by the tiny hair cells in the inner ear that sense movement and gravity. Your ear, nose and throat doctor can help you find which of these issues are causing your vertigo, as well as the other potential causes.
Recommending a treatment
With a cause outlined, your ENT doctor can start recommending and carrying out the necessary treatment. In some cases, like with an infection, medication like antibiotics may be all you need. In other cases, exercise and movement-based plans can help you shift the little particles leading to BPPV or help retrain the systems in the inner ear that send signals to the brain about movement and position. In some cases, like severe infection or an acoustic neuroma, surgery might be recommended to either drain or remove the obstruction.
Since it can be caused by a wide variety of different issues and the treatment can vary from person to person, it’s best that you get in touch with an ear, nose and throat doctor about vertigo as soon as possible so you can start getting to the bottom of it. The sooner you find the cause, the sooner your ENT doctor can recommend the best course of action.