Dizziness is much more common than people realize. As many as 40% of people experience dizziness. In fact, dizziness is one of the most common complaints that cause people to visit their healthcare provider. Symptoms of dizziness can range from mild to incapacitating.

Dizziness can have a number of causes. Because part of your balance system is located in your inner ear, vestibular (inner ear) disorders commonly cause dizziness. 

If you’re experiencing persistent dizziness or episodes that recur, schedule a visit with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist like one of the top-quality doctors here at Southern ENT Associates.

Understanding dizziness

Dizziness affects each person differently. Feeling lightheaded or unsteady can accompany other symptoms such as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Changes in vision
  • Pressure in the head and ears
  • Hearing loss
  • Nausea

Complex interactions help maintain your sense of balance. Fluid and fine hairs inside your inner ear monitor movement and send signals to your brain to help you maintain balance. Other interactions involve your:

  • Eyes, which monitor your body’s position
  • Pressure receptors, which sense gravitational position
  • Muscle and joint sensory receptors, which monitor motion
  • Central nervous system, which processes information sent from other systems to maintain balance.

You experience dizziness when one or more parts of the balance system send mixed signals to the central nervous system or when the central nervous system doesn’t process the information correctly.

Common causes of dizziness

Fortunately, most cases of dizziness are treatable! Here are some of the most common disorders that cause dizziness. 

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

Vertigo is the feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning. If you have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, you experience brief dizzy spells when you stand up or turn your head. Symptoms may be mild or severe enough to cause you to feel sick and vomit.

Meniere’s disease

Meniere’s disease causes episodes of dizziness that can last just a few brief minutes or continue for 24 hours. The exact cause of Meniere’s disease remains unknown, but abnormal changes in the fluid in the inner ear are believed to contribute. 

People with Meniere’s disease may experience a ringing sound in the affected ear. Symptoms such as hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear often accompany Meniere’s disease.

Vestibular migraine

Often referred to as “dizzy migraines,” vestibular migraines are characterized by episodes of severe dizziness with or without headaches. The disruptive symptoms of vestibular migraines can significantly interfere with your daily life. 

The condition is typically chronic and can last for months or years.


Sometimes dizziness is the result of an infection in a part of your inner ear. Labyrinthitis
is an infection of the labyrinth (nerves of the inner ear). A cold or flu can trigger labyrinthitis. Allergies and ear infections are other causes. 

Labyrinthitis is usually temporary and goes away on its own in a couple of weeks. 

Getting to the root of your dizziness

Most causes of dizziness can be determined by a careful patient history and physical  Sometimes, however, tests are helpful to identify the cause. These tests include a hearing test or a balance function test (or VNG).  

Once you get a diagnosis, a range of treatments have proven effective at managing most underlying causes of dizziness.

Dizziness and COVID-19

Dizziness is a reported symptom of COVID-19 and is associated with more severe COVID-19 illness. If you think you have COVID-19, stay home to lessen the spread of the virus. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe symptoms such as trouble breathing. 

If you’re dealing with dizziness, rely on our board-certified ENT physicians at Southern ENT Associates to perform careful, sophisticated diagnoses using advanced diagnostic techniques. To learn more, contact us at Southern ENT Associates to schedule a visit. 

Our offices are located in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, and Youngsville, Louisiana.

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