Symptoms of disequilibrium include dizziness, hearing loss, ear ringing, nausea and incoordination, according to The American Institute of Balance. Other symptoms may include lightheadedness, weakness and numbness. Dizziness, the most common symptom, may be caused by disruptions in the brain, gastrointestinal system, vision or the inner ear, notes MedicineNet.
Disequilibrium caused by ear problems is often described by patients as a spinning sensation along with their eyes suddenly spinning back and forth. Vestibular, or ear-type, vertigo may also involve feelings of nausea, imbalance, motion sickness or a falling sensation. Patients who experience dizziness from non-vestibular causes may feel disturbances inside the head, notes AIB.
Patients with disequilibrium may have trouble walking and maintaining balance and feel unsteady on their feet, explains WebMD. Disequilibrium is one of four types of dizziness including vertigo, lightheadedness and anxiety. Dizziness and disequilibrium may be acute, which means the symptoms occur once in an isolated incident, or chronic, as they persist and occur regularly. People with disequilibrium often get better since balance is a complex sensation maintained by the brain, ears and eyes.
Disequilibrium occurs most often in elderly patients over the age of 85. Nearly 20 percent of all elderly patients report some kind of dizziness as a symptom in a given year, according to class notes from Dartmouth Medical School. Approximately 7 percent of all elderly patients go to a primary care facility because of dizziness.