Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCDS)

Also called Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SSCDS), this is probably rare, although awareness of the condition is leading to more diagnoses recently. It involves an abnormal thinness of the temporal bone housing the semicircular canals of the labyrinth (aka vestibular apparatus) in the inner ear; the bone can sustain a tiny puncture from straining, sneezing, coughing, etc. (See Diagram — Ear Anatomy). Diagnosis is difficult, but should be thought of when the patient describes certain weird sensations:

  • Loud Noise induces vertigo & tremulous eyes (Tullio phenomenon)
  • Pressure on the opening to the ear canal causes vertigo & tremulous eyes (Hennebert sign)
  • Weird symptoms, e.g. โ€œI hear my eyes moving;โ€
  • Any strange perception that your own voice sounds distorted to you (echoes, etc.)
  • constant tinnitus (ringing in ear) which pulsates like a heartbeat

Anyone with such symptoms should see an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist, who would order a special high-resolution CT Scan of the temporal bone. Surgical repair can restore sanity.

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