People who experience ringing in their ears often also report having symptoms of dizziness. This is quite common, as both these conditions are closely related to your ear health, though in different ways.
Sometimes, the combination of these symptoms can be an indication of an underlying condition. Here, we will take a look at the link between tinnitus and dizziness and how this could be a factor in Ménière’s disease.
Why am I dizzy?
Usually characterised by feeling unsteady or lightheaded, dizzy spells are most commonly caused by medications, migraines or alcohol. However, sometimes an undiagnosed issue with your inner ear can cause dizziness.
Our sense of balance depends on inputs from our inner ears, eyes, and joints. Any disorder that affects these areas of the body and the coordination of their signals in the brain may cause dizziness.1 The structures in our inner ears play an especially important part in maintaining our sense of balance. Feelings of dizziness can occur when the fine hairs and fluid in the inner ear are affected by the pressure being destabilised. Some conditions which can cause this include:
Orthostatic hypotension (where your blood pressure falls rapidly when you stand up)
If you have been having dizzy spells, your first step would be to see your GP. If you experience dizziness frequently, you should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery, get up slowly from a sitting position and be careful on uneven surfaces.
What causes ringing in my ears?
If you hear ringing or buzzing sounds in the ear, you could be experiencing tinnitus. Usually, these sounds cannot be heard by other people, and they come from an internal source rather than your surrounding environment. You can have tinnitus in one ear or both.
Most cases of tinnitus stem from sensorineural hearing loss. When people start to lose their hearing, their brain generates phantom sounds in place of the missing auditory stimulation. For many people, sound therapy and wearing hearing aids help with tinnitus.
There are other causes of tinnitus besides sensorineural hearing loss and some of these conditions can have a significant impact, so you should see a hearing care specialist to discuss your symptoms.
Many people who experience tinnitus are not bothered by it and do not require treatment. However, it can disrupt sleep quality, emotional wellbeing and concentration. If this is the case, your hearing care professional can advise you on your tinnitus treatment options.
What can cause dizziness and ringing in the ears?
Dizziness and tinnitus can be symptoms of Ménière’s disease.2 People with Ménière’s disease experience vertigo — a spinning sensation — that lasts from 20 minutes to several hours. Additional symptoms include fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus, and a feeling of pressure in the ear.
Your inner ear contains fluid called endolymphatic fluid. Ménière’s disease stems from increased levels of this fluid in the ear. Treatment options focus on reducing fluid levels in the ear. Your doctor may recommend one or more of these approaches:
A low salt diet
Surgery, in severe cases
Along with treatment to reduce the frequency and severity of Ménière’s disease episodes, your doctor may suggest that you try hearing aids. Hearing aid technology may be programmed with several different modes so that you can adjust them as your hearing levels fluctuate.
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Samantha works in the professional advancement team as national training manager for audiology. She supports Specsavers desire to continue to raise clinical standards through organising… Read more