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"Why do ear infections cause vertigo?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do ear infections cause vertigo?


My son, 12, has an ear infection he picked up while we were camping last week. So far we've been treating it with vinegar and alcohol, and it seemed to be working ? but today he had an attack of vertigo. Should we go ahead and consult with a doctor, or can we get rid of it ourselves?


This combination symptoms has the potential to progress into a very serious infection with permanent consequences. Therefore, my advise is for you to see a pediatrician very soon. Let me explain. The common middle ear infection is known as otitis media and is a bacterial infection of the middle portion of the ear. An external ear infection (otitis externa), is an infection of the ear canal. While vinegar and alcohol may help treat otitis externa, it cannot treat an inner ear infection. In addition, if any of the vinegar or alcohol found its way to the inner ear, it could have caused the vertigo. If he has a middle ear infection, then it is currently being not being treated (and we have no idea which of the two infections he has). In a small amount of cases, an untreated middle ear infection can cause an inner ear infection and subsequent meningitis. Either of these extensions of the ear infection can cause vertigo as one of its symptoms. It is not my intention to alarm you, but without seeing your son and examining his ears, it is impossible for me to tell how sick he is. From you description, I think the possibility exists that he will need prompt medical attention. Either way, you should stop the vinegar and alcohol drops now and see a pediatrician so that he may be formally diagnosed. Afterwards he will likely need antibiotics to clear the infection. I hope he feels better.

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