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Michael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredTurns out, there's a lot going on inside the inner ear that we're unaware of until something goes wrong—such as vertigo. In the ear's canal-like vestibular system, tiny particles float on even tinier hairs. The motion of the particles against the hairs triggers electrical messages to the brain that let you identify up and down (they're like gravity meters), but if those particles end up in an adjacent area called the cupula, the world starts spinning.Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.