Hearing & Balance Doctors

What’s the Difference between Dizziness and Vertigo?

What’s the Difference between Dizziness and Vertigo?

by | May 20, 2024 | Balance, Patient Resources

When you stand up too quickly and get that head rush, what do you call it? Is it dizziness or vertigo? 

While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two conditions; both are temporary, but one could hint at some issues deeper in your ear or within your body. 

How do you tell them apart? 

Dizziness vs. Vertigo 

Dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness linked to your eyes and ears that often happens when you get up too quickly from bed, a chair, or the floor. You’ll feel unsteady and faint, as if you’re about to fall over.  

Vertigo is also linked to your eyes and ears, but rather than lightheadedness, vertigo is the sensation that the room is spinning around you. It’s disorienting and, for some, scary to feel as if the world is turning too fast around them. It only lasts for five to fifteen seconds on average.  

Both are similar in manifestation and feeling for the person with either condition but very different when it comes to causation.  

What Causes Dizziness or Vertigo? 

Dizziness is caused by a variety of different things: dehydration and heat exhaustion, low blood sugar, heart problems like arrhythmia or cardiomyopathy, or more frequently, a sudden drop in blood pressure. Problems in the inner ear, which senses movement and regulates your balance, can also cause dizziness. 

Vertigo can be caused by blood pressure issues as well, but the feeling is slightly different.  

Within our inner ear is a membrane lined with otoconia, which are tiny crystals barely the size of a grain of sand. Fluid within our ears with the otoconia sitting atop it keeps us balanced, but if we move too quickly and the fluid is pushed too rapidly, the signal sent to our brain is confused. The brain tries to keep up by moving our eyes very quickly to keep up with what it thinks is a sudden jostling movement. 

Vertigo can also be caused by inner ear infections; the swelling that occurs within the inner ear when it’s infected causes severe vertigo and can cause permanent hearing loss. 

How Hearing & Balance Doctors Can Help You 

If you believe your or a loved one’s dizziness or vertigo is caused by some form of inner ear infection, we’d be happy to help you. We have several balance specialists that can help you find out the cause for your dizziness or vertigo, utilizing balance tests to see how we can help you. 

If your dizziness or vertigo turns out to be caused by something outside of the ear, we’re also happy to refer you to one of the healthcare professionals in our community that can help further.  

We have great relationships with several doctors around town – let us be the intermediary and put you in contact with them to make sure you stay steady on your feet! 

For more information or to get some questions answered, please feel free to request a callback and we’ll get in touch for a no-obligations chat.

Alternatively, you can find your closest location and contact us there to set up an appointment. 

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Dr. Richard Luekenga

Dr. Luekenga opened Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah in 2005. Since that time he has been dedicated to creating state-of-the-art facilities filled with the latest technology along with the most qualified and caring hearing healthcare team. He received his Doctor of Audiology from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. His doctorate is supported by his B.A. at Utah State University, clinical fellowship at Bountiful Hearing Center and further clinical experience at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, IHC Hearing and Balance Center, The Kosair Children’s Hospital, Heuser Hearing Institute (Deaf Oral School), and Avada Hearing and Balance Center, to name a few. With this long list of experience, it is clear that Dr. Luekenga is very passionate about good hearing and is well-versed in the advances of hearing aid technology. He is equally as passionate about helping patients that feel off-balance, dizzy, lightheaded, or unsteady, and understands the need these patients have to get back on their feet! Additionally, he provides counseling and therapy for patients who experience tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in their ears).

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