If you have ever suffered a bout of vertigo, then you know that it can cause extreme spinning sensations, loss of balance, nausea, anxiety, and sometimes vomiting. Before your doctor can suggest a treatment option for your vertigo, the cause needs to be determined. Here are some ways your audiologist, or hearing doctor, can uncover the cause of your vertigo.
During your appointment, your hearing doctor will take a detailed oral medical history from you. He or she will ask you about your current medical conditions and which medications you are currently taking. The audiologist will want to know if you take certain ototoxic medications such as aspirin. Ototoxic means "toxic to the ear" and can cause dizziness, hearing loss, balance problems, earaches, and vertigo.
Once your audiologist learns that you are currently taking an ototoxic medication, he or she may suspect that you have medication-related vertigo and may refer you back to your physician. Your physician may recommend that you lower your dosage or stop taking the medication altogether until your symptoms resolve. It is important to note that while lowering your dosage or discontinuing your ototoxic medications may completely resolve your vertigo, the damage to your ears and your vertigo may persist.
Another way that your audiologist may suspect that you have vertigo is if he or she sees evidence of redness or inflammation inside one or both of your ears. The presence of fluid may also contribute to vertigo. If your ear examination reveals any of these findings, your hearing doctor may suspect that you have either a bacterial infection or a viral infection and recommend that you make an appointment with your primary care doctor.
If your primary care physician determines that you have a bacterial infection of the ear, antibiotics will be prescribed. Once the bacterial infection has cleared, your vertigo will probably resolve as well. It is important to note that if your infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not be prescribed because they are ineffective in treating viral infections. Vertigo caused by infections can be managed with over-the-counter antihistamines; however, they can cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and blurred vision.
If you develop vertigo, especially if it is accompanied by hearing loss, see both your hearing doctor and primary care physician. When you work with both of these healthcare professionals, you are more likely to enjoy prompt symptomatic relief from your symptoms.