Can Tinnitus Lead to Balance Disorder?

Tinnitus is experiencing ringing, buzzing, hissing, clocking or swishing sound in the ear or head.

Although the exact mechanism of tinnitus is unknown, hearing noises in the ears is thought to be attributed to inner ear problems.

One of the oft-related cause of tinnitus is Meniere’s disease. With Meniere’s Disease, severe dizziness sometimes accompanies tinnitus, resulting in a debilitating balance disorder as well. The sounds and imbalance can be so intrusive and cause discomfort that they can affect the person’s daily lives and in severe cases cause anxiety or depression.

Meniere’s disease is a condition of an increased pressure built-up of endolymph fluid in the inner ear. The excessive pressure affects the hearing and balancing abilities, inducing hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorder in the patient.

As per some studies, there is an inter-relatability between vertigo and tinnitus, and together they are one of the most common examples of nervous system dysfunction among young and older adults.

Tinnitus and balance disorder are inter-related

The inner ear is an intricate part of the human body that is crucial in maintaining the equilibrium of the body by being motion sensitive. The nerve endings in the vestibular region transfer the nerve impulses to the brain helping it to assess the body’s position and balance the body accordingly.

The vestibular and cochlear nerves run through the inner ear to the brain to transmit the sound and motion signals. Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis, middle ear infection or any other disorientation affecting this system, lead to vertigo and tinnitus.

  • Tinnitus is often an intruding sound in the ear. A prolonged period of tinnitus leads to loss of focus, anxiety, annoyance, and depression.
  • Vertigo or dizziness is a mistaken sense of body movement, spinning of the world around or the feeling of revolving movement of self.

In both the cases, the reason is impaired nervous system that is inefficiently sending out the nerve impulses that confuses the brain and disrupts the equilibrium of the body and the hearing ability.

Tinnitus and vertigo are manageable

The good news is tinnitus and vertigo are manageable, and in some cases treatable. Vertigo is a result of a malfunction of the balance system in the inner ear. And tinnitus is the consequence of a disturbed auditory system of the inner ear.

Diet modification. Some of the foods and drinks trigger tinnitus and dizziness. The doctors may recommend restricting the quantity or discontinuing some of them after understanding the pattern of dizzy attack and severity of tinnitus in the patients.

Lifestyle changes. Active lifestyle with lesser stress levels and avoidance of exposure to loud sounds help in reducing the discomfort of tinnitus.

Medications. Anti-vertigo medications help in controlling the vertigo bouts. Vasodilation pills help reduce the pressure in the ear, lessening tinnitus discomfort. In case of psychological effects, doctors prescribe antidepressants.

Physical exercises. Balance exercises help regain the equilibrium. These practices yield impressive results when experts monitor and keep track of the activities.

Devices. To reduce the uneasiness of tinnitus one can use sound therapy tools that mask the irritating sounds in the ear.

There is advanced diagnostic equipment to diagnose and treat the causes of vertigo and tinnitus. Ample studies are going-on on vestibular induced medical conditions and their treatment. You can reach out to vertigo specialists at NeuroEquilibrium Advanced Vertigo and Balance Disorder Clinics.

This article was written by Dr. Anita Bhandari. She is an MS (ENT) and has completed a fellowship in Otology and Neuro-otology from Singapore General Hospital. Her expertise fuels her passion for helping people lead a good life by regaining balance and confidence.

Comments

  1. Nisar azizi says:

    I am facing sudden movements when waking up or turning right and left in bed. I am feeling the same during pray when turning down my had. Do to the mentioned diceasse i am disturb in office and home. All the world is turning and moving. I need your advice please.

  2. You will need a balance clinic outfitted with the proper equipment for analysis of your condition. When I was first looking for diagnosis I went to an ENT who you would think would be outfitted for diagnosis. He was not.

    The ear he prescribed Epley for was not the side with the bulk of the problem. In order to settle out the offending gravel, you must see someone schooled in using this equipment. I put on goggles in which my eye motions could be easily observed in a darkened room.

    And contrary to all cogent thought, hearing loss may not necessarily be quiet at all. For me, all sound is so loud that I can not function. I used to laugh and say, “I just can’t walk and chew gum!” So don’t rely on anyone who just flips you a one word solution. Go to a reputable Balance Clinic.

    Because I also had Lyme disease, I was also on antibiotics for that reason. The Meclazine ordinarily given for balance issues became a problem in the presence of Doxycycline and I had a bout of diarrhea of Biblical proportions. Once I received help from the Gordon Center for Balance, the side with the problem was isolated and I got some relief. Also, Tinnitus threw me.

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