More Common Later in Life
Across the age spectrum, the peak incidence of problems due to dizziness and the inner ear is in the 50s and 60s and it stays high throughout the lifespan. This is simply because of the normal aging of the inner ear.
People can have problems with dizziness and the inner ear at any age, but by far the incidence spikes up in the sixth and seventh decade of life.
For over 17 years, I provided physical therapy house calls for patients, many of whom were over 65 years old. I met a lot of people complaining of dizziness and having falls, but they were unaware that they might have an inner ear problem.
Unidentified Problems with Dizziness and The Inner Ear
When I meet people who are having unexplained falls or dizziness, I have personally found that about 95% of them have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).
This means they have misplaced ear crystals in their vestibular system, which is the inner ear balance system.
BPPV is the most common link between dizziness and the inner ear. This should be corrected by a vestibular healthcare provider.
You can use this article to find a qualified provider who can treat dizziness and the inner ear.
I go into more details about BPPV and ear crystals in my blog, Should You Treat Yourself for BPPV? Understanding Ear Crystals.
Dizziness and the inner ear is a problem that should be corrected. Besides BPPV, there are other problems that can occur with dizziness and the inner ear. A vestibular healthcare provider should be able to assess for these issues.
If you are experiencing dizziness, unexplained repeated falls, balance problems, or vertigo, the first step I always recommend is to meet with your primary care provider (PCP) to let them know.
They may refer you to a specialist such as a Neurologist or a Cardiologist to make sure you don’t have anything serious or life-threatening. Hopefully, you will end up at a vestibular physical therapist for a resolution.
One study found that 80% of patients who had falls of unknown cause had symptoms of vestibular dysfunction when they were tested – often related to dizziness and the inner ear. These are not necessarily people that are complaining of dizziness. These are people that are just falling without knowing the cause.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.