Tinnitus and vertigo are two distinct conditions that can sometimes occur together. Tinnitus is characterized by a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears, while a feeling of dizziness or spinning characterizes vertigo.
These two conditions are often associated with each other as they involve ear problems and brain or nerve pathway issues. They also have similar causes, like wax buildup, infection, or inflammation of the inner ear. In severe cases, tinnitus and vertigo may be caused by a tumor or an injury to the head or neck.
Tinnitus and vertigo are closely linked to the extent that treating one condition resolves the other. If you are struggling with ear issues or dizziness, seeing a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment is recommended.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of sound in one or both ears when there is no external noise source. This can range from a low ringing to a high-pitched whistle, which can be temporary or chronic.
Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when no such external physical noise is present. It is commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears” and affects about 15 to 20% of adults worldwide. While ringing sounds are the most common, tinnitus can also sound like hissing, roaring, whistling, or buzzing.
Tinnitus is not a condition itself but a symptom of an underlying cause. The most common cause is exposure to loud noise. However, it can also result from age-related hearing loss and earwax buildup.
In some cases, tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious condition such as Meniere’s disease, acoustic neuroma, or vascular tumor. In rare cases, tinnitus may be caused by intracranial tumors or infections.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is the sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning even though there is no actual movement. This can cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Vertigo affects nearly 40% of US adults and can be caused by several things, including inner ear problems, head injuries, and brain lesions. The most common cause of vertigo is inner ear problems.
The inner ear helps to control balance in the body. When it is not working correctly, it can send mixed signals to the brain about what is happening with movement. As a result, the brain becomes confused and dizzy. Other potential causes of vertigo include an imbalance in the fluids in the body, certain medications, head injuries, brain lesions, and migraines.
Vertigo can be a short-term condition that goes away on its own. Or it may be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.
Tinnitus and Vertigo
Tinnitus and vertigo are both diseases of the inner ear. In some cases, they can also affect the brain. Tinnitus is a condition that causes a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears. Vertigo, on the other hand, is a feeling of dizziness or spinning.
Although not all people with tinnitus suffer from vertigo, the two conditions are often related. For example, nearly everyone with Meniere’s disease will experience tinnitus and vertigo. In addition, tinnitus may become very loud before vertigo sets in. This can give a false impression that one is spinning.
However, it is essential to remember that tinnitus and vertigo are two different conditions. While they may sometimes occur together, each can also occur independently.
Treatment for Tinnitus
Though there is no cure for tinnitus, there are treatments that can help lessen the symptoms, including:
- Earwax removal: Earwax buildup can block the ear canal and cause irritation, leading to or worsening tinnitus.
- Hearing aids: Hearing aids amplify sound, which can help offset the perception of tinnitus.
- Change medications: In some cases, tinnitus is caused by medications. If this is the case, changing medications may help to lessen the symptoms.
- Treat blood vessel condition: If a blood vessel condition causes tinnitus, treating the underlying condition may also help lessen the symptoms.
- Noise suppression: Noise suppression techniques, such as white noise machines or masking devices, are helpful. They produce soothing sounds that can help to mask the ringing noise associated with tinnitus.
- Counseling: This approach can help people change their thoughts about the symptoms. Some examples of counseling include Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) which involves developing strategies for dealing with tinnitus. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people change their thinking patterns and develop more positive coping skills.
- Medication: Medication may also be prescribed in some cases to help relieve stress or improve sleep.
Treatment for Vertigo
Treatment for vertigo depends on the underlying cause. In most cases, vertigo will go away on its own over time. However, the doctor may recommend various treatments if the vertigo is severe or persists for more than a few days.
Treatments for vertigo may include:
- Vestibular rehabilitation: This therapy helps to retrain the brain to compensate for losing balance.
- Canalith repositioning maneuvers: These are a series of movements designed to dislodge the calcium crystals causing vertigo.
- Medicine: Medication can be used to treat the underlying condition causing vertigo. For example, antibiotics or steroids may be issued if the vertigo is due to an infection or inflammation. Or diuretics for Meniere’s disease.
- Surgery: Surgery is typically only recommended if other treatments have failed.
TMS for Tinnitus
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved, non-invasive, nonsedative procedure. The procedure uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain and can be an effective treatment for tinnitus. It is safe and well tolerated, with minimal to no side effects. In one study, 47.8% of the patients saw improvements after receiving TMS for Tinnitus.
If you are looking for a safe and effective treatment for tinnitus, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may be a good option. Schedule a free consultation with Brain Therapy TMS to learn more about TMS for tinnitus. Our team of experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We can help you decide if TMS is right for you.