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Dizziness and Vertigo

Dizziness and vertigo are symptoms that are caused by an underlying condition. Often, the condition has something to do with the ears or nose. In these cases, treating dizziness or vertigo requires treatment for the underlying cause.

Dizziness and vertigo can be mild or severe. Most people experience mild dizziness from time to time that passes within seconds. When the issue is chronic, it is best to seek medical attention. Even mild dizziness and vertigo that is chronic can interfere with quality of life and usually triggers tertiary symptoms, such as nausea or loss of appetite.

It is also possible dizziness and vertigo are related to a more serious condition, so you will want to rule out diseases or conditions that need immediate, aggressive treatment. It is also important to avoid certain activities during bouts of vertigo or dizziness, such as driving or operating equipment.

Once your doctor determines the underlying cause of dizziness and vertigo, he or she will create a treatment plan and provide tips for managing the symptoms until they are resolved.

Ringing in the Ear

At some point most of us have experienced a temporary ringing sound in the ear, but for some people the sound in continuous. When ringing in the ear will not go away it is known as tinnitus. The sound is sometimes more like a roar, hum, or buzz, but is only something the person suffering from tinnitus can hear and is not related to any environmental noise.

There are several potential causes of tinnitus, including:

  • Muscle movement or blood flow near the ear (usually related to pulsatile tinnitus)
  • Problems in the nerves related to hearing (usually related to non-pulsatile tinnitus)
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Acoustic trauma
  • Earwax buildup
  • Medication
  • Excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol
  • Ear infection
  • Ear drum rupture
  • Dental problems, especially TMJ
  • Surgery or radiation injuries
  • Excessive dieting
  • Repetitive exercise
  • Migraines
  • Diseases, such as anemia, acoustic neuroma, thyroid disease, and a variety of other conditions

Treatment for tinnitus varies depending on the cause. In some cases the ringing clears up on its own. Even in cases when tinnitus cannot be cured, a doctor can help you manage the symptoms and prevent them from interfering with daily life

Fluid in the Ear

Fluid in the ear is caused by a blockage that impedes drainage from the middle ear space. In addition to ear infections, the common cold and allergies can cause fluid buildup in the ear. There are also instances in which fluid in the ear is related to physical development, which is why it is more common in children.

Symptoms of fluid in the ear include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Vertigo or balance problems
  • Full feeling in the ears

Unfortunately, when fluid builds up in the ears of small children, there might be no symptoms present. It is not until speech is delayed that fluid buildup is discovered.

Diagnosing fluid in the ear includes an examination of the ear with an otoscope. In some cases, a simple and painless procedure called tympanogram may be performed to confirm the presence or absence of clear fluid in the ear, which can sometimes be difficult to see.

Treatment for fluid in the ears varies based on the cause and can sometimes be treated with antibiotics or steroid nasal sprays. Doctors often take a wait-and-see approach with children, but when fluid buildup begins to interfere with development, they can surgically place tubes in the ear to help with drainage.

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Eustachian tubes are the passageways connecting the upper part of your throat to the middle ears. Whenever you swallow, sneeze, or yawn these tubes open and let air flow through. It is possible for Eustachian tubes to get clogged, which is known as Eustachian tube dysfunction.

Eustachian tube dysfunction can result in a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Full or plugged feeling in the ear
  • Muffled hearing
  • Popping or clicking sensations
  • Pain
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Vertigo

These symptoms usually increase in severity when you are in an elevator, on a plane, or experiencing other changes in altitude.

Eustachian tube dysfunction is sometimes caused by inflammation that is triggered by a cold, flu, sinus infection or allergies, but it is also possible for children to suffer eustachian tube dysfunction because of their developing tubes that are shorter and straighter.

Treatment for eustachian tube dysfunction varies based on the cause. Sometimes it clears up on its own or by treating the underlying causes with medication. Chronic cases in children might require placement of tubes to support the natural function of the developing Eustachian tubes.

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