Vertigo (the medical condition, not the Hitchcock movie)

I got out of bed the other day, and immediately had to clutch at the doorframe, because the room started spinning, and I nearly fell down. (note: I do not drink alcohol or take illicit drugs).

The vertigo contined (though a bit less violently) for the rest of the morning, so I went to see the doctor. All she could do was assert that I did NOT have a middle-ear infection, and give me an Rx for Antivert (meclizine).

Since this sequence of events (vertigo, doctor, no good answer) has occurred several times, and seems to be increasing in frequency, I made an appointment with the ENT. He can’t see me until Nov 17. In the meantime, I have about 8 weeks to fret about it.

Specifically, I’m worried that I have Meniere’s Disease (Syndrome). I’ve been googling on “vertigo” and seem to have all the symptoms of Meniere’s except hearing-loss.

Are there any Dopers here with Meniere’s, or who know anything about inner-ear disorders that can give me some info?


I’ve got it, and found lots of info at Good luck!

I’m an audiologist, working at an ENT office.

There are three classic symptoms of Meniere’s Disease

  1. A unilateral hearing loss, often in the low frequencies. (Hearing loss in one ear.)

  2. Ringing in the ears, especially a deep, roaring, sea-shell sound.

  3. Vertigo, specifically a spinning sensation.

Hearing loss is a huge diagnostic symptom for Meneiere’s. When you go to the ENTs office, they should definitely do a hearing test. If you do have a hearing loss in one ear, Meniere’s disease is definitely a possibility, but I would also demand an MRI to rule out an Acoustic Neuroma, a benign tumor pressing against the Auditory Nerve (the VIIIth Cranial Nerve).

Completely scared yet? Don’t be, cause there are several other things that could be going on.

You could have a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). This is a condition caused by a disorder in one of the middle ears. It’s common symptoms include sharp dizziness when the head is tilted from one plane to another, ie. bending at the waist, looking up to a high shelf, or lying down and/or rolling over in bed. It’s not the same as a middle ear infection. BPPV can be diagnosed by a test done the Dix-Hallpike, and treated by the Epley Maneuver.

You could have not a middle ear infection, but an INNER ear infection. This can be diagnosed with a test called Caloric Irrigation. This is not a fun test, as it makes most people dizzy. But if you have this type of infection (usually viral), your body will correct itself eventually, maybe with the help of some balance exercises and Antivert.

The ENT will probably want you to undergo a battery of balance tests called an ENG (Electronystagmography) which includes the Dix-Hallpike, the Calorics, and several other tests to help specify what is going on.

And you never know, your doctor could be wrong about the middle ear infection.

Hope this helps, and not thoroughly confuses.