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December 14, 1957


JAMA. 1957;165(15):1943-1949. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980330045011

Dizziness, a feeling of motion that persists when the patient and his surroundings are really stationary, can be caused by disorders of the proprioceptive system, the eye, or the ear. When the ear is involved, the etiology is either central or peripheral. A complete examination of the eighth nerve is mandatory. The examination of the cochlear division should include audiometry. Examination of the vestibular division should include the various tests that elicit nystagmus. The causes of the dizziness may prove to be neoplastic, traumatic, vascular, toxic, allergic, metabolic, or functional. If the cause cannot be identified and removed, relief is sometimes obtained by administering sedatives, vasodilators, or antinauseants or by combating edema with salt-free diets. If severe hydrops of the labyrinth has destroyed hearing in one ear and left a residue of dizziness and distorted hearing, remarkable relief may be afforded by surgical destruction of the affected ear. The plight of the patient with severe dizziness is such as to deserve the best attention of the physician.