How does vestibular dysfunction affect the body?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The term "vestibular dysfunction" is used to describe a variety of disorders in the inner ear that can affect the body in slightly different ways, though the main symptoms are usually vertigo and dizziness. Located just behind your eardrum, the vestibular system helps your body process the effects of gravity and motion. When there is a problem in your vestibular system, your body may not be able to register gravity and motion properly, which can cause dizziness, loss of balance, and other symptoms. For example, if the vestibular dysfunction is caused by a viral infection, your inner ear is likely to be temporarily inflamed and you are likely to experience vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. Other types of vestibular dysfunction involve changes or shifts in the fluid in the inner ear and can lead to hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus) in addition to vertigo.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.