Ringing In Ears And Dizziness – Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Ringing In Ears And Dizziness

All parts of the ear contribute to forming the central auditory system. Likewise, the ear is a vital organ not just for the sense of hearing but also for the maintenance of a sense of perception of a person’s surroundings.

Even a slight dysfunction in the ear can result in troublesome signs and symptoms such as ringing in ears and dizziness. It is a relatively debilitating symptom that can significantly hamper a person’s routine and incapacitate the person to carry out his/her chores or work.

This article will give an insight into details about causes, symptoms, and treatment for ringing in ears and dizziness.


What Is Ringing In Ears And Dizziness?

The symptom of ringing in ears along with dizziness is medically termed as “tinnitus”. By definition, tinnitus is an auditory sensation experienced by a person within the ears in the absence of any relevant external stimulus.


What Causes Ringing In Ears And Dizziness?

Causes for both subjective and objective tinnitus are given in the table below;

Subjective TinnitusObjective Tinnitus
Tinnitus with deafness
  • Ear wax
  • Foreign body
  • Polyp of the ear
  • Tumors of the ear
  • Defects of the ear
  • Injury to the ear- Barotrauma, rupture of the eardrum, fracture of the base of the skull
  • Catarrhal infection of the eustachian tube
  1. The clicking of temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  2. Aneurysm around the ear
  3. Arterio-venous shunt around the ear
  4. Intracranial vascular tumors
  5. Presence of live insect inside the ear
  6. Clonic contractions of muscles around the ear
  7. Patulous eustachian tube- Open or expanded eustachian tube
Tinnitus without deafness
  • Anemia
  • Hypertension- May cause ringing in ears along with a sense of pressure in the head
  • Hypotension
  • Impacted wisdom tooth or dental caries

Emotional factors like anxiety and depression

Idiopathic- No cause can be detected


Ringing In Ears And Dizziness During Pregnancy

Tinnitus or ringing in ears and dizziness may be experienced by women during pregnancy as well. Some causes for ringing in ears and dizziness during pregnancy include;

  • Causes within the ear;
    • Ear wax build-up or impaction
    • Acoustic damage from listening to loud sounds
    • Ototoxic medications – Streptomycin, neomycin, salicylates, frusemide
    • Meniere’s disease
    • Otosclerosis
  • High Blood Pressure – Affects about 5% of pregnant women
  • Increase production of progesterone during pregnancy is the commonest cause especially during early pregnancy
  • Pre-eclampsia – Ringing in ears may be an alarming symptom of this serious condition during pregnancy characterized by a sudden increase in blood pressure.

Ringing In Ears And Dizziness Symptoms

Tinnitus is one of the most common symptoms of the ear, yet the most annoying. Patients often express this symptom as “noise in the ear or head”.

Tinnitus may be of two types;

1. Subjective

It sounds like ringing, buzzing, roaring, or whistling that is experienced by the patient.


2. Objective

It is a prominent ringing sound in ears that can be heard by the patient as well as the physician or the examiner.


How To Diagnose Ringing In Ears And Dizziness?

Ringing in ears and dizziness may be a symptom of a mild ear illness or it may be an alarming symptom of some serious underlying disorder that needs to be addressed and treated promptly.

In order to definitively diagnose the underlying cause of ringing in ears and dizziness, your doctor may advise you certain tests which may include;

1. Blood pressure

To rule out hypotension or hypertension as a cause.


2. Tests Of Hearing

Audiometry, voice test, tuning fork test, watch test to test for the degree of sense of hearing


3. Caloric Test

This test is used to assess the responsiveness of the vestibular system and damage to the acoustic nerve (a network of nerves that control the functioning of ears)


4. Test For Venereal Diseases

As syphilis infection can be one of the causes for ringing ears and dizziness with or without deafness


5. Blood Sugar Levels

To assess neuropathy associated with diabetes mellitus


6. Serum Cholesterol

To know if the cause behind tinnitus is hypertension


7. Complete Blood Count (CBC)

To check for anemia


8. Radiograph Of The Skull

To view fractures of the skull in case of recent or remote injury and to assess the presence of tumors, if any


Treatment For Ringing In Ears And Dizziness

The basic aim of treating ringing in ears with deafness is to address the root cause.

Treatment options for ringing in ears and dizziness include;

  • Routine treatment may include anxiolytic drugs, vasodilators, carbamazepine along with vitamins
  • The patient may be asked to practice “masking of tinnitus” by using devices like radio, alarm clocks and music may be useful in a quiet atmosphere where the intensity of tinnitus may increase
  • In case of persistent symptoms or resistant cases;
    • Reassurance hat tinnitus is not dangerous although it may be a nuisance
    • Surgical options may be considered where cases do not respond to conservative management or in cases where surgery is the only treatment option.

Lifestyle Factors That Help Ringing In Ears And Dizziness

Auxiliary management including lifestyle modifications plays a significant role in recovery from any kind of illness by working as an adjunct to conventional therapy.

Certain lifestyle factors and basic tips that may help to reduce ringing in ears and dizziness include;

1. Notice Triggers And Avoid Them

Certain agents in our daily life may work as triggers to initiate or worsen ringing in ears and dizziness such as caffeine, chocolate, tea, energy drinks, alcohol, salt, aspirin, or other medications.


2. Practice “Masking The Tinnitus”

This is often recommended by doctors as well especially in a quiet environment. You can play the radio or some soothing music


3. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise releases endorphins which help not just in the temporary relief of symptoms but also maintain general wellbeing in the long run and helps to improve sleep, lower stress, and fights depression.


4. Adequate Sleep

Insufficient sleep is the root cause of several illnesses. Fatigue also worsens a patient's symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe mild sedatives so that tinnitus doesn’t hamper sleep.

Good sleep hygiene includes;

  • Avoid food, exercise or alcohol at least 3 hours prior to sleep
  • The room should be dark and slightly cool to get good sleep
  • A warm bath helps to get good sleep
  • Ensure that your bedding is comfortable enough

5. Practice Relaxation Techniques

These techniques not only help to relieve tinnitus but also improves overall health. Relaxation techniques may include;

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Doing something you like such as singing, art, gardening
  • Tai-chi
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Guided imagery

Foods That Affect Ringing In Ears And Dizziness

As mentioned earlier, it is important to recognize and prevent certain triggering factors which may include foods like;

  • Caffeine
  • Energy drinks
  • Chocolates
  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • Sweets

Foods That May Relieve Ringing In Ears And Dizziness Are;

  • Potassium – Foods high in potassium which improve blood circulation such as bananas, pineapples, pears and so on
  • Garlic – Studies have proven the efficacy of garlic in the prevention of tinnitus and hearing loss. Garlic also helps to improve blood circulation and reduce infection or inflammations of the ear
  • Zinc – Several studies prove that zinc is a useful mineral for hearing and relief from tinnitus. Foods rich in zinc are spinach, seafood, nuts, mushrooms, seeds, and oatmeal

Author:

Dr. Himanshi Purohit

Dr. Himanshi is a Homeopathic consultant currently working as a lecturer in Post-graduate faculty of Homeopathy, Parul University, Vadodara.