- Acoustic neuroma
- Age-related dizziness and imbalance
- Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED)
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Bilateral vestibulopathy
- CANVAS syndrome
- Cervicogenic dizziness
- Childhood dizziness and imbalance
- Dizziness and imbalance after mTBI
- Enlarged vestibular aqueduct
- Labyrinthine infarction
- Mal de débarquement syndrome (MdDS)
- Ménière’s disease
- Motion and cyber sickness
- Perilymph fistula
- Persisitent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD)
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome
- Secondary endolymphatic hydrops
- Semicircular canal dehiscence
- Vestibular migraine
- Vestibular neuritis
- Vestibular paroxysmia
- Vestibular toxicity
- Visually induced dizziness
This information is intended as a general introduction to this topic. As each person is affected differently by balance and dizziness problems, speak with your health care professional for individual advice.
Vestibular disorders include:
Rare benign tumour on the nerve that runs from the inner ear to the brain. Main symptoms are hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as well as dizziness and balance problems.
Age-related dizziness and imbalance
One of the most common problems of older people - has many overlapping causes. Much can be done to treat and manage it.
Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED)
Happens when the immune system attacks the inner ear. Often causes sensorineural hearing loss as well as balance problems. Uncommon.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
Key symptom of this common and treatable condition is repeated, brief spells of vertigo (spinning sensation) brought on by a change in head position. Usually treatable by guided head movements.
Bilateral vestibulopathy (BVP)
Damage to the balance parts of both inner ears. Causes imbalance, unsteady gait, and "jumpy vision" with head movement.
Stands for cerebellar ataxia with neuropathy and vestibular areflexia. This rare neurological syndrome affects balance.
Related to a neck problem. Frequent symptoms include episodes of dizziness, lightheadedness, and unsteadiness.
Childhood dizziness and imbalance
Fairly common in children. Most problems are temporary and easy to treat. Longer-lasting conditions are often accompanied by developmental delays.
Rare, slow-growing, benign growth in the middle ear. If not treated, can eventually destroy parts of the inner ear needed for hearing and balance.
Dizziness and imbalance after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)
Damage to either the balance-related parts of the inner ear or brain or both is common from mTBI. Symptoms depend on which part(s) of the balance system have been injured.
Enlarged vestibular aqueduct
Larger-than-normal tube between the inner ear and deep in the skull. Most often affects young people. Symptoms include sensorineural hearing loss as well as balance problems.
Serious type of small stroke. Warning signs include sudden hearing loss in one ear, dizziness, and/or loss of balance. Increases risk for a larger stroke. Call 911 or other emergency services.
Inflammation of the inner ear, most often caused by a virus. Symptoms include severe vertigo (spinning sensation), usually with nausea/vomiting, as well as some hearing loss.
Mal de débarquement syndrome (MdDS)
Usually triggered by a long trip at sea. Main symptoms are constant feelings of movement lasting for weeks, months, or even years.
Hallmark symptom of this chronic, progressive condition is sudden attacks of vertigo (spinning sensation), usually lasting several hours.
Motion and cyber sickness
Nausea or discomfort triggered by exposure to real or virtual movement. Many strategies can reduce the symptoms.
One of the most common causes of conductive hearing loss in young adults. Symptoms may include tinnitus, dizziness, and balance problems.
Brings on sudden or progressive hearing loss in one ear as well as episodes of vertigo (spinning sensation). Rare condition.
Persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD)
Common cause of long-lasting dizziness and feelings of unsteadiness. Anxiety often develops about things that trigger dizziness.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS)
Shingles outbreak affecting a facial nerve near one ear. Usually affects older people. Sometimes causes vertigo (spinning sensation). Rare condition.
Secondary endolymphatic hydrops (SEH)
Build-up of fluid in inner ear. Associated with spells of vertigo (spinning sensation) and hearing loss that comes and goes.
Semicircular canal dehiscence (SCD)
Rare condition caused by a hole in part of the inner ear. Can bring on both hearing and balance symptoms. People with SCD often hear sounds from inside their own bodies.
Common cause of repeated attacks of dizziness and other vestibular symptoms, often without headache pain. Frequently undiagnosed and undertreated.
Problem with the vestibular nerve. Causes a single sudden, severe attack of dizziness, usually with nausea and vomiting. Hearing loss is not a symptom.
Damage or pressure on the vestibular nerve causes short, recurring attacks of vertigo (spinning sensation). Uncommon chronic disorder.
Temporary or permanent damage to the balance system from some drugs and chemicals. Fortunately, rare.
Visually induced dizziness
Umbrella term for a group of symptoms resulting from some vestibular disorders. Often brought on by looking at complex patterns or movement.
The following can offer more help and support for affected individuals and their families.
Note: Websites that deal with a specific disorder can be found on the page about that disorder.
Information about dizziness and balance problems caused by inner ear disorders, neurological disorders and other conditions. Maintained by Dr. Timothy C. Hain, Chicago Dizziness and Hearing.
Dizziness and Equilibrium
Clear explanations and diagrams to help in understanding vestibular and balance disorders, diagnostic tests, and vestibular rehabilitation. Includes a glossary of common vestibular terms. Part of the American Institute of Balance (AIB) website.
Medical News Today
Provides news from evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies, along with accurate, unbiased and informative content from governments, medical societies, royal colleges, professional associations, patients' groups, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies, among others. Browse or search “Ear Nose and Throat” category for information about the inner ear and vestibular disorders.
Consumer health information from the US National Library of Medicine. Includes current health news, general health information by disease or body system, a medical encyclopaedia and dictionary, anatomical diagrams and videos of surgical procedures.
Explains disorders, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and prognosis in everyday language.
Merck Medical Myths: Vertigo
Dr. David Kaylie, an otologist with the Duke University Health System, talks about the differences between dizziness and vertigo, hearing loss and dizziness, treatments that can help, and the myths associated with vertigo in this 25-minute podcast. Available on Google Podcasts or Apple Podcasts.
Vestibular Disorders Association
Commonly known as VEDA, the Vestibular Disorders Association's mandate is to help people find balance.
Personal accounts of those living with chronic dizziness.
Most titles are available for loan through public libraries. If your local library does not own a copy, ask for it to be sent from another library through interlibrary loan.
Note: Books about a specific disorder can be found on the page about that disorder.
A leading specialist in preventive medicine outlines an evidence-based, user-friendly set of tools that helps us make simple behavioural changes that have a tremendous effect on our health and well-being.
An ear surgeon with 30 years of experience distills his knowledge about vestibular disorders in this simple, 84-page guide written for the general public.
This short and practical guide explores different conditions that can cause dizziness, describes common types of dizziness and explains what people with dizziness can do to feel better. The authors are renowned doctors – the credibility of the information is unparalleled. An essential read for every dizzy person!
Page updated January 2021.