A-C Glossary of Vestibular Disorders

Acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas) are nerve sheath tumours in the internal auditory canal or cerebello-pontine angle.

Acoustic shock syndrome is defined as “any temporary or permanent disturbance of the functioning of the ear, or of the nervous system, which may be caused to the user of a telephone earphone by a sudden sharp rise in the acoustic pressure produced by it.” (International Telecommunications Union European Transmission Standards Institute). These unexpected high-level sounds have been reported to cause a variety of symptoms such as shock, nausea, headaches, hypersensitivity to loud sounds, dizziness and imbalance, neck and shoulder pain, concentration and memory problems, panic and fear, tinnitus, tiredness and decreased quality of life. The duration of the symptoms is variable.

Autoimmune-mediated inner ear disorders are characterised by sensorineural hearing loss and may be accompanied by vestibular symptoms.

Bacterial otomastoiditis with involvement of the labyrinth bacterial otomastoiditis is a bacterial infection which can spread to the labyrinth (inner ear).


Benign paroxysmal positioning vertigo (BPPV) is a complex disorder defined as an abnormal sensation of movement that is provoked by specific head movements due to the dislodged utricular otoconia (calcium carbonate crystals) in a semicircular canal (posterior, lateral, anterior).

These head movements trigger vertigo and eye movements (nystagmus), the character and direction of which are specific to the semicircular canal affected.

BPPV is the most common inner ear disorder that affects more women than men, the prevalence of which is greater in the ageing population, and almost always idiopathic (unknown cause).

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and migraine-related dizziness occurs more often than by chance. Positional dizziness is seen in BPPV and migraine-related dizziness; the characteristics of each are distinguishable.


Cerebellar infarction may arise due to an occlusion (blockage) of the Vertebral artery Posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) also known as the lateral medullary syndrome/Wallenberg’s syndrome, Anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) – lateral pontomedullary syndrome.

Cerebellar degeneration may be due to Freidrich ataxia, olivoponto-cerebellar degeneration and cerebellar cortical atrophy. Patients may experience vestibulo-ocular (eye-head coordination), gait and balance problems.

Cholesteatoma is a skin growth that occurs abnormally behind the middle ear causing hearing loss, dizziness and facial nerve paresis.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by range of symptoms including dizziness, fatigue, balance problems abnormal movements, abnormal sensation and headaches.


Have you ever reeled from a head injury or trauma?
Have you ever reeled from a head injury or trauma?



Concussion (mild head injury or trauma)

Click here to link to Margie’s Concussion WIKI reference page




Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive hereditary disorder. Most CF patients suffer from chronic respiratory infection starting early in life, and are treated with antibiotics. Some of these antibiotics are toxic to the inner ear hair cells causing dizziness, marked unsteadiness in the dark, on uneven surfaces, and difficulty focusing when moving the head quickly.

Click here to link to Margie’s Cystic Fibrosis WIKI reference page