I’m only a child – can I have BPPV?

BPPV can affect people of any age as everyone has the otoconia (ear crystals) which causes BPPV.  These otoconia are a normal part of the balance system.  Most children with BPPV have recently been in some kind of accident where there is a degree of head injury. It is not clear if the injury shakes these crystals loose or if blood gets into the canals and causes the crystals to come loose, or if the blood itself causes the symptoms.  Most children with post traumatic BPPV seem to do well and accommodate quickly to the symptoms and respond well to treatment.

BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) in children can easily be confused with BPV of Childhood (Bengin paroxysmal vertigo) which is actually a migraine related phenomenon.  It is unfortunate that the names are so close as they are not related disorders.  The primary distinguishing difference is that BPPV can be brought on with position change and is due to otoconia whereas BPV is often associated with headache and not affected by position.

BPPV is most commonly seen in people over the age of 60 as they are most likely to have age related changes to their ears which causes the otoconia to come loose.  While it is possible to see BPPV in children it is uncommon and often short lived.  Careful attention should be paid to differentiate causes of vertigo in all patients.

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