Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a somewhat common condition, more so in women than in men. If you have occasional, short-lived bouts of vertigo, you may have BPPV. Below, let’s learn more about benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and what can be done about it.
What Is BPPV?
As mentioned, BPPV is a common form of vertigo. Its symptoms include mild to severe dizziness, a sudden sense that the environment is spinning, a sudden lack of balance, nausea, and vomiting. These episodes might last no more than a minute at a time. Vertigo like this is usually not considered life-threatening, but you should consult a doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Persistent bouts of vertigo
- New or severe headache
- Double vision
- Weakness of the arm or leg
- Slurred speech
- Numbness or tingling
- Trouble walking or standing
- Loss of consciousness
Potential Causes of BPPV
Usually, BPPV does not have a known cause and will go away on its own after a while. It can also come back. However, some causes could be a brain injury, migraines, or an issue with the inner ear. The inner ear contains the vestibular labyrinth, which houses the parts of the ear that help control balance. Within the three loop-shaped organs of your ears, called otolith organs, are minuscule crystals that help with balance and orientation to gravity. Should these crystals become dislodged, one could experience sudden vertigo.
Your audiologist might perform one or more of several tests that help determine the cause of vertigo. The basic test is a physical exam, in which the doctor will look for:
- dizziness prompted by head or eye movements that last perhaps a minute
- Involuntary eye movements
If the doctor still cannot tell for sure where the dizziness is coming from, he might perform an ENG or VNG to test for abnormal eye movements, or an MRI to diagnose or rule out a variety of conditions and causes.
The most common type of treatment your audiologist may perform is canalith repositioning, also known as the Epley Maneuver. This procedure strategically guides dislodged crystals in your inner ear back to where they belong. It may not be a foolproof cure for vertigo, but it certainly aids in restoring comfort. Should the condition be severe enough, surgery may be necessary.
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that are personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.