Inner ear disorders

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12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To present a framework for the diagnosis and treatment of inner ear disorders, with an emphasis on problems common to neuro-rehabilitation. INTRODUCTION: Disorders of the inner ear can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo and imbalance. Hearing loss can be conductive, sensorineural, or mixed; conductive hearing loss arises from the ear canal or middle ear, while sensorineural hearing loss arises from the inner ear or auditory nerve. Vertigo is a hallucination of motion, and is the cardinal symptom of vestibular system disease. It should be differentiated from other causes of dizziness: gait imbalance, disequilibrium, lightheadedness (pre-syncope). Vertigo can be caused by problems in the inner ear or central nervous system. METHODS: The diagnosis of inner ear disorders begins with a targeted physical examination. The initial work-up of hearing loss is made by audiometry, and vertigo by electronystagmography (ENG). Supplemental tests and MRI are obtained when clinically indicated. RESULTS: The clinical pattern and duration of vertigo are the most important clinical features in the diagnosis. Common inner ear causes of vertigo include: vestibular neuritis (sudden, unilateral vestibular loss), Meniere's disease (episodic vertigo), benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and bilateral vestibular loss. Common central nervous system causes of vertigo include: post concussion syndrome, cervical vertigo, vestibular migraine, cerebrovascular disease, and acoustic neuroma. CONCLUSION: A basic knowledge of vestibular physiology, coupled with a understanding of common vestibular syndromes, will lead to correct diagnosis and treatment in most cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-462
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Meniere's disease
  • benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • dizziness
  • imbalance
  • inner ear
  • labyrinthitis
  • migraine
  • nystagmus
  • superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • vertigo
  • vestibular neuritis
  • vestibulo-ocular reflex


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