Dizziness and Motion Sickness
Dizziness and motion sickness arise from changes in the inner ear due to changes in one’s sense of balance and equilibrium. Dizziness, vertigo, and motion sickness all relate to the sense of balance and equilibrium.
Symptoms of Motion Sickness
Symptoms of motion sickness often include cold sweats, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and a sense of feeling unwell.
Causes of Motion Sickness
Many people experience motion sickness when traveling by car, train, airplane, or boat. Motion sickness is the same as being carsick, seasick, or airsick.
Other actions can cause symptoms of motion sickness, including:
- Amusement Park Rides
- Virtual Reality Experiences
- Video Games and Movies
- Reading While in Motion
Why Motion Sickness Occurs
Complex interactions of the nervous system maintain your sense of balance. When motion sickness occurs, the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the motion-sensing parts of your body, the inner ear, the eyes, the muscles, and joints. Your brain doesn’t know whether you are stationary or moving.
For example, when traveling in a car, your eyes see trees passing by, and register movement; your inner ears sense movement; your muscles and joints sense that your body is sitting still; and your brain senses a disconnect among these messages.
Preventing Motion Sickness
There are several things you can do to prevent motion sickness when traveling, such as:
- Direct air vents in a car toward you and roll down the windows.
- Face forward when traveling and focus on a distant object.
- Lie back and close your eyes.
- Choose a forward-facing seat on a train or bus.
- Avoid reading your phone, book, or tablet.
- Sit in the front seat of a car.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid fatty or starchy foods the day before travel.
- Suck on hard candies made with ginger or peppermint.
- Take an over-the-counter antihistamine the morning of travel. Take the kind that causes drowsiness, as the non-drowsy formulas won’t work. (Only do this if you are a passenger and not the designated driver.)
- Get a prescription for Scopolamine skin patches from your healthcare provider. You place the patch behind your ear to relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Replace the patch every 3 days during travel.
Consultation for Persistent Motion Sickness
Most cases of motion sickness can be managed quite easily. If your symptoms of dizziness and motion sickness persist and you suspect an inner ear issue, call Coates Hearing at (919) 351-8100 to schedule a consultation. You may also request an appointment online.
If a balance disorder is suspected, balance testing is used to evaluate a person’s vestibular function. The vestibular system includes parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements.
Because the inner ears’ vestibular organs and the associated nerves and brain centers form a complex system, their many functions can be affected by a number of outside systems. As a result, a thorough evaluation of the inner ear is necessary and may require several different kinds of tests.