Why do ears ring before fainting? What are the black spots in front of ones eyes?

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Just before one faints, ears start ringing and black spots start dancing in front of one’s vision pretty much regardless of why they are losing consciousness.

What causes these two things to happen? And do these reactions have a purpose besides a very short-timed heads up?

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When you faint, it’s because blood — for whatever reason — is not bringing oxygen to your brain. So when you’re not perfusing the areas of the body/brain that send and receive these sensory signals, everything gets a bit wonky.