Inner ear problems come in many different forms, including infections and balance disorders, but the symptoms are often similar. The biggest clue that you have a problem with your inner ears is that your balance is affected. However, there can be other signs of infections too.
Signs of Inner Ear Infections
Infections are one of the most common types of inner ear problems. You could develop an infection in your inner ears after having a normal cold or the flu. However, the inner ear problems can sometimes appear without any previous symptoms.
When you have an infection in your inner ear, you might experience the following symptoms:
- Ear ache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tinnitus or ringing in your ears
- Hearing loss
- Feeling of fullness in your ear
Your balance could also be affected by an infection in this part of your ear, but balance problems can also be a sign of other kinds of inner ear conditions.
The tiny organs that control our sense of balance are located in the inner ear. If you have an infection that is causing inflammation and irritation in this area, then it can often affect the delicate balance organs. However, inner ear problems aren’t always caused by infections. Other kinds of problems can also cause symptoms that affect your balance.
Balance related symptoms that could be signs of inner ear problems include:
- Feeling as if you’re spinning or moving even when you are still
- Feeling as if the room is spinning or moving around you
- Trouble keeping your balance, especially when standing or moving around
- Falling or feeling as if you are going to fall over
Sometimes these symptoms can appear when you have an inner ear infection, but they can also happen for other reasons. You could have a balance disorder such as Meniere’s disease or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). These kinds of disorders can be caused by anything from loose material in the inner ear to the effects of ageing.
How Are Inner Ear Problems Diagnosed and Treated?
If you’re having symptoms that could be linked to an inner ear infection or balance disorder, then it is a good idea to see a doctor. Mild ear infections will usually clear up by themselves, but if the symptoms are severe or aren’t getting better after a few days, then it’s worth seeing a doctor. You may need antibiotics if the infection is bacterial.
You should also see a doctor if you have symptoms of a balance disorder. Balance problems can have a significant impact on your daily life and they could affect your ability to work, drive or perform everyday tasks. An ENT specialist can perform tests to check your balance and diagnose inner ear problems such as Meniere’s disease. The doctor will also be able to check for more serious issues, such as tumours that could be affecting your sense of balance. You might need to have vestibular tests to check your sense of balance, scans of your inner ears, or other investigations. You can then get treatment to help manage your symptoms.