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When to See an ENT for Dizziness

As many as 40% of adults experience dizziness that is serious enough to report to their physician. In fact, dizziness or light-headedness is one of the most common complaints that people have when seeking medical treatment.

Dizziness can be caused by a number of conditions, including disorders of the inner ear, bacterial or viral infections, and even reactions to certain medications. 

If you have ever experienced dizziness or vertigo, you know it can be quite unsettling. The lightheadedness you experience or the feeling that the room is moving around you may be accompanied by nausea, anxiety, and other troubling symptoms.

You should see an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) for dizziness when:

  • The cause has not been determined by your primary care provider (PCP) or other physician.

  • Ear conditions are the cause of your dizziness. This includes benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), an inflammatory condition called labyrinthitis, Meniere’s disease, or an infection of the ears, nose, or throat.

  • You experience hearing loss, ringing/buzzing in your ears, or pressure in your head and ears along with dizziness.

Dizziness is treatable, but the proper cause must first be identified. Your ENT will run tests, including an eye movement test, which measures eye movements to detect any abnormalities in your vestibular system, the system responsible for balance, and an electronystagmography (ENG), which also detects eye movement electronically.

Your treatment will depend on test results. There are many safe and effective treatments for dizziness, including medication, physical therapy, exercise, and dietary changes. Your ENT may determine that surgical intervention is necessary to treat your condition, though this is rare.

Have you had severe, long-lasting or recurring episodes of dizziness? If so, it’s time to call your doctor.

 

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.