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What Causes Vertigo?

Vertigo is a symptom characterized by a false feeling of movement. But, what causes vertigo? Our top guide explains all you need to know.

In the long term, vertigo could potentially lead to hearing loss. At HearingDirect.com, we supply a number of key products such as hearing aids to help effectively manage hearing impairments.

What is vertigo?

The term is often used to describe a fear of heights, but this is incorrect. In fact, it is experienced by people who are standing completely still and are in a steady environment. Continue down this post to learn more about what causes vertigo.

There are two main types of vertigo. If the sufferer is under the impression that the whole world is spinning around them, they are experiencing objective vertigo, and if they feel that they themselves are moving, the condition is described as subjective vertigo.

Vertigo can be experienced by people from different age groups, although it becomes more common as age progresses. It is always advisable to consult your GP if you have concerns regarding vertigo.

Symptoms of vertigo

Before we explore what causes vertigo, we need to know some of the symptoms. Vertigo should not be mistaken for dizziness, motion sickness or fear of heights, although the symptoms may look/feel alike. Besides the false feeling of movement, vertigo symptoms might include a sense of disorientation and unsteadiness, nausea, and vomiting. The sufferers may also report experiencing unusual eye movements (nystagmus), headache, tinnitus or hearing loss.

The severity of the symptoms as well as their duration differs from person to person. The feeling might occur accidentally and diminish in a few minutes, but it may also affect the sufferer’s life on a regular basis and last for several hours or even longer, causing great distress and discomfort.

We recommend you consult your local medical professional if you have concerns regarding vertigo, particularly if the symptoms last for a long period of time and reoccur regularly. Below we assess what causes vertigo, highlighting some of its more common causes.

what causes vertigo

What causes vertigo?

There are different causes or underlying health conditions that may lead to vertigo. But what causes vertigo? In this section, we highlight a number of key causes which could result in experiencing vertigo.

One of the most common reasons is the possibility for disorders in the function of the inner ear, which not only plays a crucial role in the process of hearing but is also responsible for the balance of the whole body. Compromising this can lead to a balance disorder.

Problems with the inner ear could be what causes vertigo. This can include:

  • Ménière's disease: Affecting both balance and hearing, it is described with short and sudden outbursts of balance and hearing problems, also accompanied by ringing in the ears, severe nausea and hearing disorders that may be permanent. The condition may be treated with medicines and sometimes may require a surgical intervention.
  • Vestibular Neuritis: Caused by an infection of the vestibular nerve, which is located in the inner ear, and may lead to severe cases of vertigo lasting for a long period of time. The infection might be a result of a cold or flu and is unlikely to lead to hearing loss. Usually, the symptoms go away with time, although in some cases medications may be prescribed.
  • Labyrinthitis: This is an inflammation of the inner ear, which can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, as well as by a head trauma or different allergies. It may lead to a permanent hearing loss. Other unpleasant side effects are severe anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): This is characterized by short and acute vertigo attacks, which usually occur when a person suddenly turns their head, stands up or bends over. The condition is a result of disorders in the inner ear and in particular the position of the otoliths in the utricle. It is common mostly amongst elderly people and is unlikely to lead to serious problems.

To answer the question of "what causes vertigo?", other conditions that may lead to vertigo include epilepsy, tumours, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, head injuries, etc.

As already mentioned, if you have any concerns over balance or hearing difficulties you should immediately consult a medical professional, this article is for information purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis.

Treatment of vertigo

Know that we know what causes vertigo, we can look at treatment.

There are several ways to treat vertigo but this will depend on the severity and defining symptoms of the condition. However, in some cases, vertigo can be improved naturally over time.

Some popular treatment methods include:

  • A series of simple head movements (known as the Epley manoeuvre) is used to treat BPPV.
  • Medicines, such as prochlorperazine and antihistamines, can help tackle early stages or most cases of vertigo. 
  • Vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT),  a series of exercises for people with dizziness and balance problems can be beneficial.

Depending on what causes vertigo, there may be some methods of self-treatment that can help improve and relieve symptoms such as simple exercises, avoiding neck extension and bending, stand up slowly,  sleep with your head slightly raised, and brain exercises so your body can become more used to vertigo.

If you are suffering from vertigo we recommend consulting a medical practitioner.

Hearing loss and hearing tests

One of the most common forms of hearing impairment is sensorineural hearing loss (SHL). One of the main causes of SHL is vertigo and may lead to diminished hearing if left untreated. However, SHL can be managed with digital hearing aids.

We have created our very own online hearing test to help those who believe they may be suffering from some form of hearing impairment. Our hearing test is free, quick, and you will receive your results instantly which will indicate if you should take further action to prevent hearing loss.

About Hearing Direct

Hearing Direct is one of the world's leading hearing specialists, stocking a wide range of digital hearing aidsbatteriesaccessories, and amplified devices such as super loud alarm clocks and phones designed for the hearing impaired. 

If you have any questions about what causes vertigo, hearing loss or how our products can assist you, then please do contact us and our expert team will do their best to help you.

In the meantime, check our blog to see if any of the resources we have created can benefit you and answer any queries you may have.

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