I have been lightheaded and ears ringing for one year now

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I started having symptoms a year ago. I was driving and all of a sudden I thought I was having a stroke. My vision went blurry, my ears started ringing and I got so dizzy I had to pull off the road. To this day, it has not gone away and has gotten worse. I have pressure in my ears, like they are full and they both ring constantly. My vision has changed in my left eye and it's blurry and I have double vision in that eye. It is so bad that it causes me a lot of anxiety. I have made an emergency trip to the hospital because I thought I was dieing. I have had MRI, CT, ENT, ENG, VNG tests done. I have seen 18 doctors and the only thing they can tell me is that I have lost my balance sensation in one ear that is causing my dizziness and unstableness. My legs are weak and shake and I would not dare stand on a ladder right now. I have been thru Vestibular Therapy exercises and they did not help. I am miserable and it has affected my daily function in life and is causing me to lose time at my job. My family is feeling the replicutions of my sickness too. I just want to feel NORMAL again. My brain is not working right and I have the sensation of falling all the time in my head. It is such a weird feeling and I can't fall asleep unless I take a sleeping pill and even now, I am waking up like I am falling. The ENT doctor has not made a diagnosis but I am taking some medicine to try to dry up fluid in my ears. Its hard to walk in a busy store without feeling dizzy or unstable and my vision is so off I can't see. I have had thoughts of not wanting to live like this anymore, that is how awful this disease or whatever this is I have is. Does anyone else have these symptoms or a diagnosis or maybe some ideas on how I can control it? 

Thank you 

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138 Replies

  • Posted

    Your symptoms sound very much like those I had a few years ago, although I did not have daily episodes. After various tests by the ENT team that I see, I was finally referred to an audiology consultant who diagnosed that I had Menieres desease. I was put on medication known as sercs which dampen the symptoms to the extent that I now only have episodes every few days or even weeks.
  • Posted

    Hi Brenda ,I've just answered Tony on this Virtigo site ,I've got this going 24/7 and he's had Virtigo since 07 .go have a read .im sat typing now and my ears are full ,I'm worse when upright ,walking or stood still .Done exercises ,took Serc ,and cinerazine ? Meds ,not straightened me up ,tried magnets Acupatch ,got a free booklet from Brain and spine foundation ,gives all exercises .

     Were you I'll leading up to this ?whats your age ? Where do you live ? See if a connection .Ive got tinnitus as well.just saw your 1967 was that your birth year ? 

     Has to be a common thread to all this .

    • Posted

      Hi Marlene. I am 52 and I live in ft. Worth,Texas. My symptoms started 5 months after I had a Hysterectomy. I am almost certain that my hormone drop has contributed to my ears and vision problems. I am very unstable on my feet, shaky and joint pain also. Meclizine and Valium have not helped me at all. I can't function on either meds. Vestibular Therapy did nothing for me except put a huge hole in my wallet. So sensitive to noise and lights. Very miserable and have feelings of never being normal again. Thank you for your imput and help.
    • Posted

      Sercs is for balance ,maybe another name where you are ,done nothing for me .,I've PM you ,then I saw your post. You say hormones ,strange as I've got that going since all this started,have a look at your tongue see if it's white coated ,then look at Candida,in menopause ,That can be a problem ,goes for men as well.Yes it's miserable having Tinnitus and balance going together ,I've got it every day ,but that can be hormones ,both symptoms .
    • Posted

      Wow that is some coincidence I am 52 also and feel pretty much the same way you do every doctor that I go to does basically the same test its the same results it's hard for me to even go outside anymore because I'm beginning to see spots strobing and then I get extremely light headed when I go outside and I've also got a fear of driving right now do to my dizziness and vision which is very hard for me I'm one of these crazy people that I enjoyed working 60 hours a week six and seven days a week most of the time now I can't even get out of the house because as soon as I step out the door its like a strobe light hit me in the face and I have to go back in because it feels like the whole house is spinning and if I lay down it gets bad if I sit up it gets bad if I walk I lose balance and I'm just trying to find out what this is that's going on with me so if you have any information that you can give me to help me along the way I would greatly appreciate it thank you
  • Posted

    Hello Ms. Brenda, 

    I have written on this when it first hit me back in the early part of this year.  If you care to, you can go back and see what I have written about myself, but is sounds like you are experiencing just about the same things that I have had except that I do find relief when I lie down flat and stay there.  It seems to me that in my case, I do a little better when I do some and then rest.  I stop when the fatigue gets to a point where I can't stand it.  The next time I get up and try it seems to be a little better.  But that's me, you certainly may have a different experience.

    I live in the U.S.A. and my health care is paid for by my employer, and so for that reason I am very careful to have only the treatment that might help, and try to weed out any extraneous ideas to help keep costs down.  ( as example, I turned down a hearing aid and new glasses, because I only want to stop the dizziness)  I was told I have sleep apnea and was tested for it and low and behold I need a very expensive machine to breathe through while I sleep, BUT IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE to my symptoms.  I may need it, but it does nothing to stop my symptoms,  just costs a lot to my employer.  I wish I had not let them get me all the stuff that doesn't help.

    So, with that said, I did ask my doctor for a second opinion.  I even asked for an explanation of a second opinion.  We are having an entirely "different group" do all of the tests over again to see if they come up with different results.  I am going to meet with the new team to find out what they have on October 2, 2014 and will get back here when I know more.

    I would also like to point out that no medicine has done anything to stop or even slow down my dizziness, so I am very skeptical about getting still another prescription, at a cost, to try unless there is some very real history of it making a difference.

    As a part of my "2nd Opinion" I have gone to the eye doctor.  He said he knew several who have  Meniere's, and they do well if they stop all SALT.  He was quite stern about it.  He said stopping all salt from getting into their diet helped them.  He told me that the Optic Nerve and the Vestibulocochlear Nerve impulses can be confused if there is swelling or inflammation in the inner ear and salt contributes to Meniere's.  BUT when I told him I had double vision for a few weeks and then had a very hard time keeping my eyes on the words I was trying to read, he also said that there is a very good chance that the MRI AND  CAT SCAN missed  A STROKE in the area of the brain at the top of the spinal column due to shadowing  caused by bones in the area.  This is the first time anyone has revised the idea that a STROKE may have been the culprit.


    The double vision and hard time reading that I had in the aftermath of the room spinning for 2 days may have been caused by Myasthenia gravis, which is a weakening of the muscles that control eye movements illness or a stroke.  

    This is important to me because I had the idea that the vestibular therapy that I was doing is very similar to what a stroke victim would do to rehabilitate.  In my case the vestibular therapy reduced the feeling of falling or acute dizziness that some of the exercises brought on.  I was happy to do them and see reduction results, but all the while I was thinking that this is exactly what a stroke victim would do, just that they would do them for other things that they can't do well.

    Throughout this whole ordeal, I have had some sinusitis and my ears have had ringing in them.  I have had the feeling of fullness in my ears and they have itched way down inside.  Sometimes they burn and sometimes they have a feeling that an electric jolt has gone through them.  This could all be caused by an allergy.  A constant irritation to sinuses makes a good environment for invasion of infectious diseases, but the inflammation it's self could be the culprit.

    So, to recap:

    For me, if I lie down and hold very still I get total relief and can think clearly.

    After resting very still, I go back to things and get a little further befor it becomes too much again.

    No medication has reduced the feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness for me.

    Salt reduction my help, so cut out all the salt you can. Restaurant food is out for the time being.

    I may have had a stroke, so rehab is in order, and rehab seems to work to a degree. 

    My double vision may have come from muscle weakness illness.  I am doing eye exercises, using a patch.

    I may have an allergy that causes irritation to my sinuses.

    October 2, is an important day on my calender.


    I refuse to let this illness get me down, and I fight all the "extra stuff" that is thrown at me just to make money off my situation. Stay positive about all of it, it could be a lot worse, like cancer or heart failure.


    On a personal note Ms. Brenda,  I have lost several relatives and close friends to self destruction ( suicide) and they all had one thing in common, Depression.  My sister lost her life accidentally due to excess alcohol, but she was depressed about the loss of her mother in law and just couldn't wait to hit the bottle and drank too much. Others did themselves in knowingly, all due to depression.


    SO PLEASE  keep an upbeat attitude, count your blessings, only keep company that care about you, dream about the things you want to do, make plans for the future and stay in the upbeat mode.  If you know anyone who has cancer, you need only ask them about the influence of positive mental attitude has on illness.

    Be relentless about being positive.

    Please hang in there, something is going to happen for the better for all of us...



    • Posted

      Thank you Ben for your imput. I too feel better when I am laying flat on on my back in bed. Once I stand up in the mornings, I know the same day is here again all over, day after day. Never any changes. The vision loss is over whelmings, the fullness and ringing is horrific and causes me to feel so unstable. My joints hurt all over but that's probably from my Anxiety. So far my dr has given me Meclizine and Valium, well who can hold down a job on Valium? I am 52 years old and I want to know what has caused my life to change where I can't function anymore ? 
  • Posted

    Hi Brenda

    For the past seven months my husband has been suffering from what was apparently a vestibular ear problem. He tried optokinetic maneuvers, he tried the Epley maneuver (4 times at the ENT specialist´s office etc.) Truth be told, the doctor just didn´t know what he had! His symptoms (nausea and dizziness (not spinning)) were mild and the usual prescription for these things just alleviated but never really relieved him of the symptoms. He also had lots of ear pressure, fullness in both ears. He had some anxiety and tension but this was due to not knowing what was wrong. Other doctors suggested this could be psychosomatic. This didn´t make him angry, rather it made me furious. He had brain scans, inner ear scans, x-rays, blood work, audiograms and other tests and everything just came up negative. The specialist gave him a mega dose ( the "latest international protocol" for this kind of vestibular problem, he called it) of Betaserc (brand name where I live). He was on this medication for 1 day because this medication wore him down completely and he just couldn´t function. Both of us kept investigating on the internet and spoke with doctor friends of ours. It just couldn´t be ear related because, and here´s the clincher, vestibular problems don´t happen in both ears!! If it does, it is an extreme rarity! So could my husband be the exception that proves the rule? Maybe. But this was one of the things that always baffled the doctor. So, the most logical and intelligent conclusion we all came to was

    that whatever it was, was in fact causing vestibular problems BUT it was NOT the cause but rather the effect. This changed everything. Guess what? The problem is the cervical spine! So what he needed wasn´t an ENT specialist, what he needed was a neurologist.

    He spent all these months with the ENT and my conclusion is that these specialists are so, so, so, focused on their specialty that they forget to think "out of the box"! This week my husband is begining physical therapy which consists of 3 hours in the morning of massage

    and electric stimulation and some other things I don´t know how to explain and another 3 hours at the end of the day of the same thing for 2 weeks straight, very intensive. What he has SEEMS to be "Cervical Vertigo Disequilibrium". Whatever the case, everything indicates to a cervical spine problem. Now you know what I know and I´ll keep you posted.

    I hope this can help someone.


    • Posted

      Was he tested for Meniere's

      Try the Blair physical therapy

      Dr Hall in Los Angeles

    • Posted

      Hi Veronca20125.

      My friend has all of these symptoms and is getting worse. Do you have any ideas where to go for info or support on menieres?

      Thank yoy

    • Posted

      Please go see a ENT doctor.

      ENT will run all the test necessary and start a treatment plan.

    • Posted

      He has been. Currently waiting for scans. Meanwhile quality of life is terrible. Thanks for the reply. Fingers crossed gets some help soon.
    • Posted

      Try a all natural water pill, reduce sodium intake, no drinking, caffeine, chocolate, sausage, lunch meat. Take meclizine it's a over the counter medication

    • Posted

      How is your husband now and did it turn out to be his cervical spine?

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