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:

  • Ménière’s disease
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (where head movements cause vertigo)
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Low blood pressure
  • Anaemia (fatigue due to your body lacking enough healthy red blood cells)
  • Dehydration
  • Orthostatic hypotension (where your blood pressure falls rapidly when you stand up)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Autoimmune inner ear disease

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 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
  • Diuretic medication
  • 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.

Consult with a professional today

Our audiologists are experts in ear health, you can book an appointment today to discuss any hearing loss symptoms you may be worried about. If you’re looking for more information on tinnitus and its causes or treatments options, visit our tinnitus resource.

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Dizziness Possible Causes | Cleveland Clinic. [online] Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/6422-dizziness/possible-cause [Accessed 30 Aug. 2019].
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2019). Meniere's disease - Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menieres-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20374910 [Accessed 30 Aug. 2019].