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Q. Why do I have impaired balance when I shake my head?

Answered by
Dr. Sumit Srivastava
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 21, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jan 31, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am a 51 year old male. I have never had any medical condition prior. I spent a very cold day outside and woke up the next day with a feel of dizzy (like I am drunk), queasy and tired. There is no pain, cough or discharge. When I move my head from side to side my balance gets impaired. I also have constant ringing in my left ear. It has been more than a week with no improvement. Please help.

Dr. Sumit Srivastava

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to

Your problem seems to be due to inner ear infection leading to impairment of balance on head movements and ringing sensation in ear known as tinnitus.

You need ear examination and complete vestibular functions assessment and evaluation by an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist.

This is to sort out other differentials like Meniere's disease (inner ear disorder gives feeling of spinning), benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), low blood pressure, anxiety, many medications, migraine, overheating or dehydration, poor blood circulation.

Take Betahistine, an anti-vertigo and Benadryl for the relief after consultation with an ENT specialist.

Revert back after the tests to an internal medicine physician online -->

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Hello doctor,

I have no access to an ENT specialist. I do have access to medication. How long should I expect this condition to last?

Dr. Sumit Srivastava

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome back to

Since you do not have access to ENT specialist, I would suggest you some simple measures.

  • Sip warm liquids and gargle Aspirin dissolved in hot water a few times.
  • The symptoms should decrease in a day or two and should get over within a week. Otherwise, you need to be examined by an ENT specialist.
  • For the time being, try and cut back on caffeine such as coffee, dark colored sodas, chocolate, etc., and salt (most in packaged foods) and make sure you are getting plenty of rest.

For further information consult an internal medicine physician online -->

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