Drop attacks, known as Tumarkin’s Otolithic Crisis, are when a person falls to the ground with no warning. The person remains awake and does not lose consciousness. Drop attacks are sometimes experienced in the later stages of Ménière’s disease. They do not affect everyone.
A drop attack feels as if you are being pushed violently and suddenly, causing you to fall. Symptoms are usually gone as quickly as they appear, and you can get up straight away and carry on with whatever you were doing (unless you get a drop attack at the same time as an acute attack of vertigo). During these attacks, the hair cells on your otoliths are suddenly activated, causing your balance to be severely disrupted. Experts do not know how or why this happens.