Can Tinnitus Lead to Balance Disorder?

Balancing rocks

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.

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.

Are crystals in my ears causing my dizziness?

If that headline is a bit gross and makes you want to leave the page, please don’t! We promise this is pretty interesting, and not as gross as it sounds. It’s a bit gross, but isn’t that the case with most of the human body?

In some fantasy stories, the world is bound together by four crystals that control the elements. When you hear of crystals in your ear, however, be aware that they are significantly less interesting and powerful than crystals that control earth, wind, fire, and water.

Well, if they aren’t ingots infused with the power of the universe, what are the crystals that form and reside within your ear? Where do they come from, what do they do, and are they good or bad? Read on to find out!

What are ear crystals?

We won’t mince words  – the concept of ear crystals is definitely a bit disgusting. But if it makes it any better, the crystals themselves aren’t a problem. We’ve all got them, and as long as they’re in place, they’re entirely harmless.

These crystals are known as otoliths, which translates to “ear stones.” They are crystalized collections of calcium that rest firmly within the inner ear, also known as the cochlea. Standard and entirely harmless, they only pose a potential problem if one is to be dislodged.

If one does get dislodged, it can cause some not-so-fun vertigo and dizziness by becoming stuck in the wrong spot in your inner ear, the part of the ear that relays your orientation and balance. This is called “Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).”

What causes ear crystals?

Like we mentioned, the crystals themselves are perfectly natural. It would be worrying if someone didn’t have them. But what can cause these otoliths to detach and wreak havoc on the inner ear?

It usually results from some kind of blunt force trauma or whiplash, but sometimes it can happen for no reason whatsoever. Such is the unfair chaos of life. After it occurs, the sufferer will usually experience vertigo after quick movements of the head, like looking up, rolling over, or laying down quickly. It won’t last long, but it can be very disorienting.

How do you realign ear crystals?

We do have some good news though – it’s not hard to reverse. Treatment typically includes exercises which move your head and body in certain positions, followed by a 24-48 hour period of limited movement.

If done correctly, these exercises should shift the crystal(s) out of the canals and back into their proper place in the inner ear. Sometimes these exercises can be done at home, but the most effective way to diagnose and treat BPPV – or “loose crystals” – is to see an Otolaryngologist (ENT) or Audiologist who is trained in vestibular disorders.

This article was co-written by Duncan Lambden and 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.

Duncan is an Australian-born American-raised creative writer with a passion for healthy ears. He continues to build upon his audiology qualifications with research and various courses. Duncan has been working alongside Florida-based audiologist Lindsey Banks, Au.D., to make sure that Clear Living has the most up-to-date content.

Lindsey Banks is a graduate of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program at the University of Florida. She uses her diverse experience in hearing healthcare and her passion for helping people to provide credible information to those with hearing loss who visit Clear Living.

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  • Kristen Callahan
    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.
  • Nisar azizi
    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.
    • M
      Epley maneuver