There Is More To Your Ears Than Meets The Eye

Hi folks, welcome!

Photo of glowing ears (pinnae) by Jan Halle

I had never heard of the Epley maneuver until my partner, Deb, fell off of her bike about a year ago. She sure slammed her head on the ground, and after being checked out at the emergency room and given the all clear, she seemed fine for a few days. Then the dizziness and vertigo began. This was no ordinary vertigo. She said the room jumped around, making it impossible for her to stand. Then it would abate to return when least expected. This was serious stuff, and just from falling off of a bike – dangerous things bikes, but so much fun. By chance I mentioned this issue to a friend, Ernie Harper, and he said, “Have you tried the Epley Maneuver?

Ernie proceeded to tell me that he had experienced similar symptoms, with no apparent cause, and it had been cured by the Epley maneuver. He explained how it was done, we tried it on Deb, and – hey presto – the symptoms were gone. They returned a couple of times, more mildly, and again good old Epley fixed it. What a great thing. Here is a video of the Epley maneuver, which took Deb from being unable to stand back to a normal existence.

It is hard to believe that such a simple process could fix her severe vertigo (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) . The reason lies in the structure of the inner ear, and more precisely the semicircular canals. It turns out that tiny stones (canaliths), that normally allow you to detect acceleration, become dislodged from their normal location to enter the semicircular canals that deal with your sense of orientation in space. The presence of these microscopic rocks in one of these canals is what caused Deb’s world to leap about in such an alarming way. The Epley maneuver returns them to their original and correct location.

Most people have no idea about what goes on in their ears, and nor did I until I had to research an ear problem years and years and years ago. I then started to study this remarkable organ(s), which is created from the descendents of gill arches during embryogenesis. Your ears do more than hold your glasses on your head. They consist of three main regions, the outer, middle, and inner ears, and they carry out many functions, including hearing and balance. Furthermore, your inner ears have machinery that tells you if you are upside down and whether you are speeding up or slowing down. Imagine trying to ride your bike or run without these functions. I won’t give you a long lecture on the biology of the ears, but I would like to encourage you to read about the roles played by these amazing multi-organ complexes that are stuck on either side of your head. If you fall off of your bike, and then you have vertigo, remember your friend Epley.

-k Your Medical Mind



  1. Good one.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.