Feeling Off-Balance? The Problem Might Be in Your Ears

Man losing balance while going down stairs.

Feeling Off-Balance? The Problem Might Be in Your Ears

If you’re feeling a little unsteady on your feet, it’s not just in your head. It might actually be in your ears, Keck Medicine of USC reports.

Dizziness after a boat trip, an amusement park ride or spinning in a circle are common experiences. But if you feel like you’ve just gotten off a roller coaster, even if you’ve hardly moved, you might have a balance problem related to your inner ear.

Your inner ear has three canals that sense different types of movement: up and down, side to side, turning in any direction and tilting. These canals are filled with fluid; within that fluid are floating membranes with tiny cells that send signals to your brain. That special sensory information, combined with what you see and feel, helps you navigate the physical world. The brain ultimately interprets all of this incoming sensory information and translates it into coordination, balance and movement. If those incoming signals are thrown off, you can experience dizziness, nausea or a feeling that the world is spinning. You may even feel like you’re about to fall down. Several different conditions can cause your inner ear–balance system to become off-kilter, but they can be managed with help from a doctor.

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