Peripheral vertigo is a problem with the inner ear or vestibular nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain.
Peripheral vertigo makes up the vast majority of vertigo cases. Its typical causes include:
- Acute peripheral vestibulopathy (APV). Inflammation of the inner ear, which causes a sudden onset of vertigo.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). The most common reason for vertigo, it is brought on by head movements that can affect calcium crystals floating in the semicircular canals of the ear, such as turning your head, moving it up and down, or rolling over in bed. A blow to the head can also cause BPPV. There’s often no known cause other than head movement, called idiopathic BPPV.
- Meniere’s disease. An inner ear disorder that affects balance and hearing.
In rare cases, peripheral vertigo is caused by perilymphatic fistula (abnormal communication between the middle ear and the inner ear), cholesteatoma erosion (erosion caused by a cyst in the inner ear) or otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth in the middle ear).