Members Login:

Forgotten Password?

Balance Disorder Symptoms

Your symptoms are not necessarily a predictor of the underlying cause of your loss of balance.

Diagnosis is often not straightforward because there can be multiple causes of balance problems and various medical conditions can contribute to sensations of being off balance.

The words dizzy and vertigo have a number of meanings and the same symptom can affect people in different ways. Listed below (courtesy The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital) are some descriptions given by patients suffering balance disorders to illustrate how the various symptoms might feel. 



The room spins when Im sitting, standing or lying down.

The room spins when I move from lying to sitting or standing.

I think things in the room are moving when theyre not.

I sometimes feel like Im falling or that Im moving when actually Im still.


I feel like Ive just stepped off a boat.

I feel like I have waves going through my head.

I feel foggy, like my head is full of cotton wool.

I feel dizzy when I tilt my head back.

I felt so dizzy I had to lie down.

Vision problems

My vision goes blurry sometimes.

When Im reading, my vision jumps to another line and I cant go back to the line I was on.

When Im walking I have to stop moving in order to read a shop or street sign.


I feel sick and sometimes vomit.


Im unsteady when walking and veer into people or things without wanting to.

I find it difficult to walk in low light or on uneven surfaces.

I sometimes lose my balance and fall.

I feel like Im walking on pillows and lift my legs too high without meaning to. 


I have this overwhelming need to sleep during the day

I just dont feel like I have enough energy to do what I want to 

Ear problems

I hear noises coming from inside my ear that sound like ringing/hissing/rumbling/buzzing.

My hearing is getting worse and I cant hear low sounds.

I have to turn up the volume on my TV or mobile phone.

My ears feel full of pressure sometimes.


It is best to seek a professional explanation of your dizziness. You should seek medical advice and a diagnosis from your GP and, if necessary, a specialist as soon as possible.

Attendance at an emergency medical clinic should be considered if your dizziness is particularly severe and especially if accompanied by head injury, migraine, irregular pulse, a period of unconsciousness, sudden loss of vision or hearing, difficulties with walking and speech and weak limbs.


A guide to the duration of vertigo/dizziness arising from different vestibular disorders is given below.

 BPPV  Seconds
 Meniere’s disease  Hours
 Vestibular Neuronitis  Days (Up to 10)
 Vestibular Migraine  Days – weeks
 Labyrinthine Fistula  Intermittent

Source: “Clinical Assessment of Vertigo” By Paul Fagan AM, MD FRCS FRACS



Click here to read Dizziness Can Be a Drag – Coping with Balance Disorders


Join Us

Whirled Foundation membership has great benefits and puts you in touch with others living with vestibular disorders around Australia and the world.

Membership Application Read about the benefits

Connect with us


I want to make
a donation today.


Members get discounts