What triggers your dizzy spells?

Some spells come on out of the blue with no warning at all.  Others can be set off by something you do, or something you encounter—a trigger.  Spells with triggers are more likely to be benign, meaning that they often do not harm the ear.  Spells that come on without any warning are more likely to be damaging. 

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Recurrent dizzy spells

Repeated spells of vertigo can stem from damaging disorders affecting the inner ear or brain but can also be caused by temporary malfunctions that are otherwise harmless to the ear.  Recurrent vestibulopathy is a non-specific term that simply means that repeated spells of vertigo are occurring for which a cause has not yet been determined.  Spells of vertigo that last up to hours at a time are more likely to indicate a damaging process, while spells lasting for only seconds are likely to be benign, but there are exceptions to these trends.  In order to determine whether damage to the ear is accumulating, examination by a physician and testing of the balance system will usually be necessary. 

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Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a form of dizziness with nausea and vomiting that can occur when you are a passenger in rapidly moving vehicles like cars, boats, airplanes, and spaceships. It can come on when using moving devices like swings, or riding on an amusement park ride.  Even watching certain rapidly-rotating objects like a ceiling fan can sometimes set it off.  This sickness only arises in people with functioning inner ear balance systems; people who have had both inner ears destroyed cannot experience seasickness or any of the other forms of motion sickness.  It is more prevalent and easier to trigger in people with a personal or family history of migraine. 

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