Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

by | 02/03/2021 | Balance Disorders, Patient Resources

When Bouts of Dizziness Persist

Everyone gets dizzy from time to time. Whether it’s from standing up too quickly or following a bout of illness, most of the symptoms usually subside after a week or two. Except, when the dizziness lingers for an extended amount of time, it could be a sign of something more serious occurring.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a continuous dizziness sensation, please get in touch with a member of our team, so we can help to alleviate your symptoms.

What is BPPV?

If you are experiencing continuous symptoms of dizziness, you may want to check with your doctor for BPPV.

BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a condition that results in short second-long bursts of intense dizziness, nausea, or unsteadiness upon movements of the body or head and neck.

Out of the many disorders of the vestibular system that can result in dizziness, BPPV is probably the most common cause of vertigo that we see.

Audiologists, like myself, often work alongside other medical professionals such as ENT physicians and neurology specialists – to help us pinpoint whether someone’s ears are responsible for this sometimes-chronic issue.

Patients who experience BPPV are often triggered by simple everyday motions such as lying down in bed, turning in bed to their side or extending their neck when getting their hair washed at the salon.

Any sharp movement can trigger these sensations, causing an uncomfortable experience for the individual. Simply sitting still and acknowledging these triggers can help to settle these sensations and bring you back around.

When you visit All About Hearing, you will receive long-term audiological care that looks into all of your symptoms and triggers, allowing us to support you every step of the way.

To us, your needs are our top priority, and we see you as “patients for life”.

What is The Cause of Motion-Induced Dizziness?

The inner ear is not just an organ that is responsible for hearing sensitivity, but it also has areas devoted to your sense of balance.

The primary structures that accomplish this are the three loop-shaped structures called the semicircular canals and the two sensory structures below these canals called the otoliths.

The semicircular canals sense head rotation through the movement of fluid simulating tiny sensory hair cells whenever someone turns their head in any direction. The otoliths sense the pull of gravity on the head during everyday body movements, such as walking and bending down, by using tiny crystals that help sense gravity.

Sometimes these crystals can get dislodged from the otoliths, whether by head trauma or other underlying health conditions and become trapped in the semicircular canals.

The movement of these crystals floating around in the semicircular canals during everyday activities causes the acute bursts of vertigo known as BPPV. In essence, the cause of BPPV is due to debris that has collected within the inner ear.

How is BPPV treated?

The good news is that BPPV can be treated without any complicated surgeries or medications. In fact, many medications that repress the dizzy response are detrimental to the body’s ability to adapt and adjust to the presence of BPPV or other vestibular disorders.

Ear, nose & throat doctors, audiologists, and physical therapists can easily use a bedside test in the office to check for the presence of BPPV. This involves asking the patient to lie back with their head turned 45 degrees left or right and angled 20 degrees off of the test table. This maneuver is called the Dix Hallpike.

As this can make the patient very dizzy and exacerbate neck and spine injuries or circulatory issues if performed incorrectly, it should not be performed without the presence of a provider or healthcare professional. If BPPV is present, then involuntary eye movements, called nystagmus, will be visible to the healthcare professional performing the test.

If visible nystagmus is observed and their dizziness is triggered, the provider can directly initiate a common in-house maneuver labeled the Epley Maneuver. This guides the patient into a series of positions intended to move the loose crystals out of the semicircular canal and back into the utricle. After that, it is only a matter of avoiding triggering positions for a week to make sure everything settles and then the BPPV should abate!

If symptoms persist, then the Epley can be attempted again. Often, in the first attempt, not all the crystals will move. However, symptoms should not be present after a successful Epley if the patient followed instructions post-procedure.

Other treatment options for BPPV include at-home maneuvers, which a professional can teach to a patient, or surgical plugging of the canal, which is very rarely done.

All About Hearing conducts advanced evaluations that will analyze the extent to which your vestibular system is contributing to your dizziness symptoms known as a videonystagmography (VNG), allowing us to properly diagnose and treat the issue.

If you or a loved one are experiencing troubles with vertigo, simply get in touch with a member of our team and we can guide you with the options available.

Experience That Counts

Our team of audiologists has over 30 years’ worth of experience specializing in many auditory disorders and use their knowledge and compassion to treat each patient with the delicate care they require.

Click here to hear about how we’ve changed the lives of many people.

If you are experiencing any worrying signs of BPPD, it’s imperative you speak with a doctor as soon as possible. You can contact a member of our team here.

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Dr. Bethany Daniels

Bethany was born and raised in Abilene, Texas. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from McMurry University and then moved to Beaumont, Texas where she completed her doctorate at Lamar University. Following graduation, Bethany stayed in Houston for two years. She began her career working for an ENT practice. Bethany then took a position with a school district where she worked with children of all ages. She was responsible for troubleshooting their devices. She also attended meetings and advocated for children with a hearing loss. At All About Hearing 4 U, Bethany provides hearing care to patients of all ages—something she’s especially excited about—and helps them on their journey to better hearing. Bethany is also looking forward to gaining further knowledge about cochlear implants.

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