Vertigo and tinnitus are both symptoms of an inner ear disorder named Ménière’s disease. Vertigo is known for causing severe dizziness whereas ringing in the ears comes from vertigo. However, Ménière’s disease tends to only attack one ear.
When persons suffer from this disease, their daily lives are plagued by sudden attacks of dizziness that stem from muffled hearing or tinnitus. In some cases, people have single attacks that occur over long varied periods of time while others experience them in shorter periods such as days. Research has indicated that some persons who suffer from the disease have very extreme cases of vertigo that they lose their balance and fall more often than they should.
While people can develop Ménière’s disease at any age, it is more common in adults between 40 and 60. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, there are over 600000 within the United States alone suffering from Ménière’s disease. They’ve also stated that with each new year, over 45000 are diagnosed.
WHAT CAUSES TINNITUS?
While tinnitus is a symptom of Ménière’s disease, there is never been a real specific cause given. However, there are several health conditions that can make it worse. We know that tinnitus can be caused when there is hair cell damage within the inner ear.
These tiny hairs are not only delicate but they move with the pressure associated with sound waves. This movement triggers the cells to release a special electrical signal that travels through a nerve and then directly to the brain. When the signals get to the brain, they are then interpreted as sounds.
However, if the hairs within the inner ear become broke or even bent, they start leaking small bits of electrical impulses. The impulses travel directly to the brain and cause tinnitus. Tinnitus has also been known to be caused by a series of chronic health conditions or injuries that have negatively impacted the health of the ear.
Other Causes of Tinnitus…
* Hearing loss which is commonly a factor of age. When people get to the age of 60, their hearing significantly worsens and may cause tinnitus. From a medical point of view, this is referred to as presbycusis.
* When people are exposed to loud noises from firearms, chain saws, and heavy equipment, they tend to suffer from noise-related losses in hearing. Music devices such as iPods or MP3 players can also have the same effect if they are played for too long. It can also be caused by short exposure such as attending a concert that’s very loud. While short term symptoms go away on their own, they can still lead to long term damages.
* Earwax has the sole purpose of protecting the ear canal by trapping dirt and slowing bacteria growth. However, when too much accumulates, it tends to be extra hard to wash away and eventually causes irritation and hearing loss which leads to tinnitus.
* When the ear bones change and stiffen in the middle of the ear, they can affect the hearing of many people and they also cause tinnitus. However, the issue of bone changes stem from abnormal bone growth and is genetic.
* People can suffer from temporomandibular joint problems which cause tinnitus. These are commonly referred to as TMJ disorders.
* Neck or head trauma often affects the inner ear, brain functions, or the hearing nerves. Hence, these types of injuries can cause tinnitus in one ear.
* An acoustic neuroma tumor can develop in the cranial nerve causing tinnitus in just one ear. The cranial nerve runs from the inner ear directly to the brain and controls hearing and balance.
* When persons suffer from eustachian tube dysfunction, they feel the sensation of their ear being full all the time. This happens when the tube running from the upper throat to the middle of the ear remains expanded. This usually comes from radiation therapy, losing weight, and even pregnancy.
* When the inner experiences frequent muscle spasms, it tends to tense up. The tensing of the ear causes a feeling of fullness in the ear and hearing loss. While there has been no reason for this condition, it can be caused by a series of neurologic diseases.
How to Prevent Tinnitus?
Simply put, the easiest and most effective way that people can prevent tinnitus and hearing loss is to protect the ears if there’s a chance that they’ll be exposed to very loud noises. Basically, if they’re working in a loud environment, it’s best to always wear protection.
Even if it’s not a work environment but any other environment that is loud, it’s still recommended that precautions be taken. Even when listening to music, it’s best to leave the volume at a reasonable level and not playing at the highest volume possible.
How Can Tinnitus Be Treated?
Before tinnitus can be treated, persons are advised to go to the doctor immediately so that they can determine any underlying conditions. In some cases, these conditions can be treated. However, if tinnitus comes from a health condition, the following steps are usually taken to reduce the noise levels:
* Tinnitus symptoms can be reduced by removing the earwax from within the ear.
* If persons suffer from blood vessel conditions, they may be suffering from underlying vascular conditions. These often require surgery, medication, and other treatment options.
* If a certain medication appears to be causing the tinnitus, doctors will reduce and then stop the drug by switching to a new one.
Tinnitus can also be treated with the following noise suppression tactics:
White noise has been known to suppress the sound making it less irritating than it usually is. Doctors can suggest specially designed electronica noise suppressing devices. Some of these include the following:
* White noise machines produce a series of beautifully naturally stimulated sounds. These sounds range from the ocean to the rain and it is rather effective for treating tinnitus. Additionally, white noise machines such as pillows with speakers work exceptionally well. Internal noise in the bedroom can also be combated with air conditioners, humidifiers, and fans to cover up the noise that comes from within.
* If persons already suffer from hearing loss, hearing aids are recommended. These are even more helpful when dealing with tinnitus.
* Masking devices are worn on the ear and they are very similar to hearing aids. They help by producing a continuous level of low white noise to suppress the symptoms of tinnitus.
* Another wearable device can be used to aid with retraining. It delivers programmed tonal music in an effort to mask the frequencies that come from tinnitus. However, over time, the technique ensures that users become used to tinnitus since they no longer focus on it.
While tinnitus cannot be cured with medication, they aid in reducing the severity of a person’s suffering. The following medications are used for combating the effects of tinnitus:
* Tricyclic antidepressants like that of nortriptyline and amitriptyline are used and have been known to actively work. However, it should be noted that these are often used in cases that are more severe since they can cause constipation, heart problems, dry mouth, and even blurred vision.
* Alprazolam is also used for treating severe cases of tinnitus. However, it is a habit-forming drug and should be used as directed.
Alternative forms of treatment for tinnitus include the following:
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* Zinc supplements
* Ginkgo biloba
* B vitamins
What Causes Vertigo?
Vertigo occurs when people suffer from an imbalance in the works of the inner ear. However, it is also caused by various problems that are directly linked to the brain. Vertigo leaves its victims suffering from sensations of spinning and dizziness. People tend to feel like the room or the environment around them is spinning in circles.
While many people often refer to the condition as a fear of heights, this is not correct. Someone can experience the vertigo sensation if they look down from a very high place. This means they experience dizzy spells when they are too high up and look down. This feeling is usually due to problems within the brain or the inner ear.
Vertigo is most often caused by an inner ear problem.
Other causes of vertigo:
* Some persons suffer from BPPV. BPPV is the shortened version of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This tends to occur when calcium particles build-up and accumulate in the inner ear. When this occurs, the inner ear sends a series of signals to the brain about the various body and head movements to regulate balance. BPPV is can be associated with age.
* As previously mentioned, Ménière’s disease also causes vertigo. This happens because there is a buildup of fluids in the ear as well as pressure in the ear. When this occurs, it is known for causing vertigo episodes along with tinnitus and hearing loss.
* Another possible cause of vertigo is labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis. This relates to a viral infection within the ear. The infection later causes inflammation within the inner ear and around the nerves. The affected areas are heavily associated with balancing the body.
In other instances, vertigo is also associated with the following injuries:
* Neck and head injury
* Brain problems such as tumors and strokes
* Migraine headaches
* Various medications that cause serious ear damage
However, depending on the severity of the condition that is causing vertigo, persons can also expect to experience the following:
* Ringing in the ear
* Elevated temperatures
* Hearing loss
How to Prevent Vertigo?
Since vertigo is caused by a problem in the inner ear, persons suffer from dizzy spells. The duration can range from short to long periods of time. In some cases, it eventually goes away on its own. However, there has been no scientific evidence to properly indicate whether it can be 100% prevented or not.
How Is Vertigo Treated?
Some cases tend to improve over time even without the use of treatment, while some suffer from repeated episodes. This is more common in those who suffer from Ménière’s disease. Persons can learn and apply Epley movements to treat their vertigo symptoms. These are rather simple and can be done in no time.
Additionally, medication such as a selected set of antihistamines or prochlorperazine can aid persons in the earlier stages of vertigo. Persons suffering from vertigo can also benefit from vestibular rehabilitation training. This form of training revolves around those who suffer from balance problems and chronic dizziness.
When it comes to treating vertigo, it depends on the root cause. Some specialists or GPs tend to recommend the following:
* Sleeping with the head raised, two or more pillows are suggested for sleeping
* Some simple exercises can also aid with the vertigo symptoms
* Before getting out of bed on mornings, it’s advised that persons sit at the edge for just a couple of minutes
* Bending to retrieve items should be avoided
* Neck extension should also be avoided, so don’t go reaching on high shelves
* When performing daily activities, persons should move their head slowly and carefully
* It is also recommended that people also perform exercises that trigger their vertigo. This is done in an effort to help the brain as it becomes used to it and gradually reduce the symptoms.
The following natural remedies can also work wonders for vertigo:
* Ginkgo biloba
* Ginger tea
* Ensuring that persons keep themselves hydrates
* Essential oils
* Honey and apple cider vinegar
Since there is no possible cure in the medical field for either tinnitus or vertigo, they can be managed with several different options. When it comes to managing the symptoms, there are tons of technological advancements, medicine, natural remedies, and even exercise to aid persons suffering from these. Both vertigo and tinnitus can be managed so that everyday living is as comfortable as possible.