M-Q Glossary of Vestibular Disorders

Mal de Débarquement syndrome (MdDS) is persistent dizziness, disequilibrium and rocking sensation (like being on a boat) on return to a stable environment (land) following motion adaptation. These symptoms last long after the trip instead of resolving within hour or days.

Meniere’s disease/syndrome is idiopathic and due to endolymphatic hydrops. It is characterised by fullness in the ear, episodic vertigo, and fluctuating hearing loss and tinnitus. Meniere’s syndrome is due to endolymphatic hydrops, which is secondary to various medical conditions that interfere with the reabsorption of the endolymph. For example, head trauma, whiplash injury, viral infections, autoimmune disorders, otosclerosis and thyroid disease. Some patients suffer from Meniere’s disease and Benign paroxysmal positioning vertigo simultaneously.

Motion sickness occurs when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the eyes, muscles and joints, the inner ears and skin pressure receptors. Some people experience nausea or vomiting when travelling in a boat, car, amusement park ride or aircraft.

Multi-sensory disequilibrium is a combination of visual (eyes), vestibular (ears) and proprioceptive (muscles and joints) deficits often seen in Diabetes mellitus and other peripheral poly-neuropathies.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system which causes demylination of the white matter and hence disruption of the nerve impulse. This disease affects balance and gait, and may cause dizziness and vertigo.


What is Vertigo & Nystagmus?

Whirled Foundation


Otosclerosis is the abnormal growth of bone in the inner ear causing hearing loss. Some people with otosclerosis may experience dizziness, balance problems and tinnitus.

Ototoxicity is due to certain drugs (e.g. Gentamicin) or chemicals, which are toxic to the inner ear where the hearing (cochlear) and balance (vestibular) organs are located. Ototoxicity causes hearing and balance disturbances. These drugs may be used in patients with life-threatening infections and in the treatment of some cancers.

Parkinson’s disease is a disease of the central nervous system affecting the basal ganglia and specific chemicals in the brain causing balance and walking problems. These patients may experience vertigo and dizziness unrelated to Parkinson’s disease, and dizziness/light headedness as a result of medication.

Perilymph fistula is a direct communication between the inner and middle ear, usually through the round or oval windows.

Post-traumatic vertigo may be due to damage to the vestibular (balance) nerve or labyrinth (inner ear) by a haemorrhage or a fracture of the temporal bone (skull), concussion of the labyrinth, or otolith dysfunction where the otoconia (crystals) have been dislodged, with or without concurrent benign paroxysmal positioning vertigo.

Psychiatric dizziness occurs exclusively in combination with other symptoms as part of a recognized psychiatric symptoms cluster. For example, dizziness that is one of a cluster of symptoms of panic attacks.