Inner ear infections differ from middle ear infections. Middle ear infections are the ones children typically get that affect the eardrum. When you get an ear infection that inflames the inner ear, you can become dizzy and nauseous. Other difficulties connected with inner ear infections are vertigo, balance problems, vision problems and hearing problems.
Get a Diagnosis
It is essential that you get a diagnosis from a doctor if you have an ear infection, according to the Vestibular Disorders Association website. Treatments are different depending on the type of infection you have.
One inner ear infection that causes nausea and dizziness is neuritis. This nerve inflammation does not cause hearing loss. Labyrinthitis is another ear condition that causes dizziness and vertigo. With labyrinthitis, you do have a change in your hearing.
Symptoms of neuritis range from a slight dizziness to a violent spinning sensation, which is vertigo. Sometimes, nausea, vomiting, imbalance, vision difficulty and impaired concentration accompany the dizziness. Some people have symptoms so severe that they have trouble walking, standing and sitting up. Labyrinthitis produces the same symptoms plus tinnitus (ear ringing) and hearing loss.
Motion sickness is one cause of inner ear disorders. If you are sensitive to swaying motions and sudden stopping and starting, you may want to avoid those situations. Many people get motion sickness on boats, for example. If you feel motion sickness coming on, you should stare at an unmoving object in the distance, according to the Merck website.
Another cause of vertigo is calcium particles that collect in the inner ear canal. This is more common in older people and occurs when the head moves in certain ways.
Meniere’s disease, which is excess fluid in the inner ear, can trigger vertigo. An autoimmune reaction, an allergy, a viral infection or an ear blockage can trigger Meniere’s disease.
How to Know
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders suggests that you evaluate your balance situation to determine whether you need a doctor’s treatment. If you have any of the following, you should seek medical attention: unsteadiness, a feeling of the room spinning, a feeling of movement when you are still, falling down or feeling as if you will fall, a lightheaded feeling, blurred vision or feeling disoriented.