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When To See An Audiologist About Dizziness

When To See An Audiologist About Dizziness

By Casey Polcari, AuD, CCC-A

Dizziness is a general term often used to describe the feeling of being woozy, imbalanced, lightheaded, or the sensation of spinning.  There are many different causes of dizziness; which can include inner ear disorders, heart or blood pressure conditions, anemia, dehydration, stress/anxiety, etc.  In conjunction with an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor), an audiologist will assist in diagnosing the cause of dizziness and whether or not treatment may be necessary.

The vestibular, or balance system, is located in the inner ear.  Therefore, if you are experiencing prolonged, recurrent or sudden dizziness, seeing an otolaryngologist (ENT) and/or an audiologist is a good place to start. Testing is often required to determine the specific cause of dizziness. These tests could include hearing tests, a maneuver called the Dix Hallpike, or videonystagmography (VNG) testing.  Videonystagmography is a test of balance which evaluates the inner ear function as well as central nervous system functions. 

The most common cause of dizziness is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).  This is a condition in which small crystals located in the inner ear become dislodged.  This results in a false sense of movement, causing a sensation of dizziness.  These episodes are usually short and are triggered with head movements, such as rolling over in bed.

Other common causes of dizziness include vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis, which are viral infections of the inner ear.  This can cause sudden and prolonged vertigo, hearing loss, and/or tinnitus. 

The probability of experiencing dizziness increases with age.  Experiencing dizziness can also cause an increase in falling incidents, which can result in injury.  If you experience sudden vertigo or sudden hearing loss, make an appointment with an ENT as soon as possible.

North Carolina Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat offers otolaryngology and audiology services five convenient Triangle locations. Dr. Casey Polcari sees patients in our Cary and South Durham offices. Call 919-595-2000 to schedule an appointment today.

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