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Perilymph Fistula

Perilymph Fistula

This is a very rare condition compared the others mentioned. This is where there is an abnormal opening in the fluid filled inner ear, leaks into the middle ear. It is a tear or defect in the thin coverings between the middle and inner ear.

What causes Perilymph Fistulas?

The condition arises as a result of some pressure exertion such as scuba diving, a head injury, or less commonly due to a strong sneeze or lifting something very heavy. The leakage can cause loss of hearing vertigo and tinnitus – ringing in the ears the symptoms are exaggerated with changes in pressures within the ear.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are often similar to many other balance disorders, although with a complete history of when you first became aware of it will help with diagnosis.

  • Dizziness

  • Roaring tinnitus

  • Hearing loss

  • Sensitivity to pressure

  • Sensitivity to loud noises

  • Vertigo

  • Nausea(sickness)

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The non- surgical approach is to recommend strict bed rest for at least one week to allow the fistula –the hole to heal up of its own accord. If you need to get up then the head needs to be kept elevated. This course of action may risk further hearing and balance loss, the alternative is surgery which involves placing a patch over the fistula. Surgery presents its own drawbacks with having a general anaesthetic as well as the hearing loss not necessarily improved, however balance is very likely to improve. The treatment for this disorder appears to be controversial

If you suspect you have a Perilymph fistula you should avoid:

  • Lifting heavy objects

  • Scuba diving

  • Bending over to pick up objects

  • Popping the ears

  • Vigorous nose blowing

  • Rapid air pressure changes -lifts

  • Avoid air travel if possible

Please Note: The information provided here should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A medical practitioner should always be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions.

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