Balance and the Inner Ear


Your sense of balance is something you probably don't think about very often. That's because, for most of us, it just works. Balance keeps us stable. It allows us to stand up and walk around without falling over. But how do we do that? Let's learn about this complex system.

Inner ear

The core of the balance system is in your inner ear. There are three fluid-filled canals in the inner ear. When you move, the fluid moves. And fine hairs in these canals feel the flow. Each canal senses a different direction of movement. One senses up-and-down. One senses side-to-side. And one senses tilting. Under these canals are chambers that sense how the position of your head relates to gravity and motion. Your brain uses this info, along with what you see and feel, to create your sense of balance.

When things go wrong

Sometimes, a condition that affects your inner ear or brain can disrupt your sense of balance. You may feel dizzy or unsteady. You may have trouble sitting or standing. This is dangerous. It may be a sign of a serious medical condition. So, if you have a problem with your balance, get medical attention.


For more information about balance and balance problems, talk to your healthcare provider.