The inner ear is important for your sense of balance, and inner ear issues frequently cause dizziness

While the inner ear is a key aspect of the body's balance system, the brain is still command central, and other senses, such as vision and proprioception, can also contribute to dizziness and balance issues. 

Our experienced team of specialists at Southern ENT Associates is equipped with the knowledge, expertise, and tools to accurately diagnose issues that affect your ears, nose, and throat. 

Our team conducts a thorough evaluation to hone in on the underlying issue behind your dizziness and recommends the most appropriate solution to bring things back in balance so you feel better. 

Here, we discuss some of the most common issues behind recurrent or persistent dizziness. 

Common causes of dizziness

Lightheadedness can occur when your brain or inner ear fails to receive adequate blood flow. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Aging
  • Artery hardening
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive cholesterol levels
  • Inadequate heart function
  • Low blood sugar
  • Low iron
  • Smoking
  • A high-salt diet


Poor blood flow to the inner ear can cause vertigo, a particularly debilitating type of dizziness characterized by the sensation of rotation or movement when there is none. 

As the brain tries to make sense of the competing and contradictory information it receives, vertigo is often accompanied by nausea and sometimes vomiting.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is when symptoms strike suddenly in certain positions, such as lying down or turning over to the affected ear's side in bed. When an attack occurs, symptoms last less than a minute, although episodes are likely to recur over time. 

The sensation happens when a dislodged calcium structure of the inner ear enters one of the inner ear's canals and triggers a hair cell, deceiving your ear into thinking you are spinning. BPPV episodes can last for days, weeks, or months. 

Meniere's disease

Meniere’s disease occurs when there is an accumulation of too much inner ear fluid, which can result in a sudden rupture of the inner ear membranes. The end effect is abrupt, severe vertigo that might continue for hours, with the earliest episodes being the most severe. 

The combination of signs and symptoms includes the following:

  • Vertigo with nausea or vomiting
  • Loud ringing in the ear
  • A sensation of fullness or pressure in the affected ear
  • Fluctuating hearing loss, which is often worse after the attack but may improve

Associated hearing loss is typically in the low frequencies, distinguishing it from many other kinds of hearing loss related to nerve damage.

Other dizziness causes

Some other causes include the following:

  • A history of migraine headaches
  • Allergies, both airborne and food
  • Certain viral and bacterial infections that target the inner, such as acute suppurative labyrinthitis, which can damage both hearing and balance

Diagnosing and treating vertigo

If you’re experiencing episodes of dizziness, our physicians at Southern ENT Associates can help. Our diagnostic evaluation includes a physical examination of your ears, nose, and throat, as well as a check of your blood pressure, nerve and balance function, and hearing. 

We may also order a CT or MRI scan of your head and tests to examine the function of your inner ear to help us uncover the source of your dizziness. Once we have some insight into the cause of your dizziness, we create an individualized treatment plan. 

Most cases of dizziness are mild and easily treatable, but moderate to severe dizziness or dizziness that worsens over time requires evaluation. 

If you’re dealing with this issue, give us a call to schedule a visit with a Southern ENT Associates provider today. We have offices in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, and Youngsville, Louisiana.

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