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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Beyond Dizziness: Other symptoms of vestibular disease

Ringing in the ears, called tinnitus,  is a sign of inner ear disease.  It is normal to occasionally feel a sudden stuffiness in one ear followed by ringing that gets louder and then subsides over several seconds.  When the feeling persists for several minutes or more, it can indicate an ear problem.   The sounds heard in a diseased ear are described most commonly as a high-pitched ringing sound, but you might hear a buzzing sound, humming, or a fuzzy sound like you hear in-between stations on the radio.  Sometimes there can be a low-pitched ringing or roaring quality, like a vacuum cleaner.  There can also be clicking or clanking noises in a diseased ear. 

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