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Run your mouse over each disorder's name to read more about it.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
Meniere's Disease
Secondary Endolymphatic Hydrops
Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis
Perilymph Fistula
Acoustic Neuroma
Vestibular Migraine
Mal de Debarquement
Pediatric Vestibular Disorders
Aging, Balance & Dizziness
Cervicogenic Dizziness
Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct
Vestibular Hyperacusis
Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease
Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome


Possible Symptoms of Vestibular Disorders:

The human balance system depends on the inner ear, the eyes, and the muscles and joints to transmit reliable information about the body's movement and orientation in space. If the inner ear or other elements of the balance system are damaged, the result may be vertigo, dizziness, imbalance, and other symptoms.

With vestibular disorders, the type and severity of symptoms can vary considerably. Symptoms can be frightening and difficult to describe. People affected by certain symptoms of vestibular disorders may be perceived as inattentive, lazy, overly anxious, or seeking attention. They may have trouble reading or doing simple arithmetic. Functioning in the workplace, going to school, performing routine daily tasks, or just getting out of bed in the morning may be difficult for some people.

Click here to read a list of symptoms that have been reported by people with vestibular disorders. Not all symptoms will be experienced by every person with an inner ear disorder, and other symptoms are possible. An inner ear disorder may be present even in the absence of obvious or severe symptoms. It is important to note that most of these individual symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, unrelated to the ear.

Thank you to VEDA for information on this page.


Acoustic neuroma - tumor of the vestibular nerve that may press on the hearing nerve causing dizziness and hearing loss.

Balance system - complex biological system that enables us to know where our body is in space and to keep the position we want. Proper balance depends on information from the labyrinth in the inner ear, from other senses such as sight and touch, and from muscle movement.

Benign positional vertigo - condition in which moving the head to one side or to a certain position brings on vertigo.

Brain Stem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) - diagnostic test in which electrodes are attached to the surface of the scalp to determine the time it takes inner ear electrical responses. to sound to travel from the ear to the brain. The test helps locate the cause of some types of dizziness.

Caloric test - diagnostic test in which warm or cold water or air is put into the ear. If a person experiences certain eye movements (nystagmus) after this procedure, the labyrinth is working correctly.

Cholesteatoma - a tumorlike accumulation of dead cells in the middle ear. This growth is thought to result from repeated middle ear infections.

Computed Tomography (CT) scan - radiological examination useful for examining the inside of the ear and head.

Diuretic - drug that promotes water loss from the body, through the urine. Used to treat hypertension, diuretics may bring on dizziness due to postural hypotension.

Dizziness - feeling of physical instability with regard the outside world.

Endolymph - fluid filling part of the labyrinth.

Hair cells - specialized nerves found in the semicircular canals and vestibule. Fibers (hairs) sticking out of one end of the hair cells move when the head moves and send information to the brain that is used to maintain balance.

Hyperventilation - repetitive deep breathing that reduces the carbon dioxide content of the blood and brings on dizziness. Anxiety may cause hyperventilation and dizziness.

Inner ear - contains the organs of hearing and balance.

Labyrinth - the organ of balance, which is located in the inner ear. The labyrinth consists of the three semicircular canals and the vestibule.

Meniere's disease - condition that causes vertigo. The disease is believed to be caused by too much endolymph in the labyrinth. Persons with this illness also experience hearing problems and tinnitus.

Middle ear - the space immediately behind the eardrum. This part of the ear contains the three bones of hearing, the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus), and stirrup (stapes).

Multiple Sensory Deficits - condition associated with dizziness in which damage to nerves of the eye and arms or legs reduces information about balance to the brain.

Neurologist - physician who specializes in disorders of the nervous system.

Nystagmus - rapid back-and-forth movements of the eyes. These reflex movements may occur during the caloric test and are used in the diagnosis of balance problems.

Orthostatic hypotension - see postural hypotension.

Otologist - physician who specializes in diseases of the ear.

Peripheral vestibulopathy - vestibular disorder in which the vestibular nerve appears inflamed and paralyzed. Patients may have one or several attacks of vertigo.

Postural hypotension (also called orthostatic hypotension) - sudden dramatic drop in blood pressure when a person rises from a sitting, kneeling, or lying position. The prime symptom of postural hypotension, which is sometimes due to low blood volume, is dizziness or faintness. The condition can be dangerous in older persons, who may faint and injure themselves.

Semicircular canals - three curved hollow tubes in the inner ear that are part of the balance organ, the labyrinth. The canals are joined at their wide ends and are filled with endolymph.

Stroke - death of nerve cells due to a loss of blood flow in the brain. A stroke often results in permanent loss of some sensation or muscle activity.

Tinnitus - noises or ringing in the ear.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) - temporary interruption of blood flow to a part of the brain. Because a TIA may signal the possibility of a stroke, it requires immediate medical attention. During a TIA, a person may feel dizzy, have double vision, or feel tingling in the hands.

Vertigo - severe form of dizziness in which one's surroundings appear to be spinning uncontrollably. Extreme cases of vertigo may be accompanied by nausea.

Vestibular disorders - diseases of the inner ear that cause dizziness.

Vestibular nerve - nerve that carries messages about balance from the labyrinth in the inner ear to the brain.

Vestibular neuronitis - another name for peripheral vestibulopathy.

Vestibule - part of the labyrinth, located at the base of the semicircular canals. This structure contains the endolymph and patches of hair cells.

Thank you to healthieryou.com for this glossary.

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