Types of Vertigo and Dizziness in the Elderly


If you care for an elderly person or are older yourself, you may be concerned about vertigo and dizziness symptoms. Vestibular disorder-caused dizziness issues are three times more common in elderly people. Even older adults who are generally healthy may have more balance problems than they did in their younger years. There are a variety of vertigo and dizziness causes, with one of the most common being inner ear problems. Here we’ll go over the various types of vertigo and dizziness in the elderly.

What Is Vertigo?

When you have vertigo, it feels like the environment around you is spinning, and it can mean that there’s a problem with the inner labyrinth of your ear. Some commonly seen causes of inner ear disorders are BBPV, Meniere’s disease, acoustic neuroma, acute vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis, and migrainous vertigo.

What Is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV?

This inner ear issue is produced when the calcium crystals found in your inner ear loosen and travel to a semicircular canal. Because they shift position as you move your head, the messages sent to your brain about your head position will be incorrect.

BPPV is the biggest cause of vertigo in the elderly, coming on strong with little notice. While vertigo and dizziness symptoms usually disappear in less than a minute, they may recur over the next few days. Some symptoms that go along with BPPV are lightheadedness, poor balance, uncontrolled rapid eye movements, migraine, blurry vision, or vomiting and nausea.

What Is Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere’s disease is found less often than BPPV. It normally shows up in adults between the ages of 40 and 60 but is possible to get it at any age. It’s caused by fluid buildup in the inner ear and is a long-term condition sometimes triggered by allergies, viral infections, and other factors. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease include vertigo that lasts for longer than a half hour, tinnitus, hearing loss that can result in permanent deafness, or a feeling of fullness in your ears.

What Is Acoustic Neuroma? 

A benign tumor that grows on the nerve between the brain and the inner ear is called acoustic neuroma. Common symptoms of this condition are hearing loss, vertigo, or a buzzing, whistling, roaring, or ringing sound in one ear.

What Is Acute Vestibular Neuritis or Labyrinthitis?

Constant, intense vertigo caused by swelling and inflammation in your inner ear that comes on quick and lasts for several days is known as labyrinthitis. It’s generally caused by viral and upper respiratory infections, but other factors can raise your risk as well. These include allergies, alcohol or tobacco use, fatigue, and stress. Other possible symptoms are vomiting and nausea, hearing loss, or poor balance. Luckily this condition tends to clear up on its own after a few days of bed rest.

What Is Migrainous Vertigo?

Migraines can sometimes cause dizziness and vertigo in older adults. Those with migraine headaches may experience the additional symptoms either between or during episodes.

Learning about vertigo and dizziness causes in older persons keeps you informed and helps you understand how serious the situation may be. If you or a loved one are experiencing inner ear problems, Oklahoma Otolaryngology Associates wants to help. Contact an OKOA clinic today for help in treating your condition.

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