Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence or SSCD is a rare condition affecting the bone that covers the superior canal in the inner ear. Symptoms arise from a dehiscence or thinning in this bone that sits on top of the superior semicircular canal. In SCD, fluid can be displaced by sound and pressure stimuli. Normally there are two holes or ‘mobile windows’ in the inner ear but with SSCD a ‘third mobile window’ is created. The signs and symptoms of SSCD are created by this third hole or ‘window’. SSCD can trigger a range of both balance and auditory symptoms. This includes vertigo triggered by loud noises, coughing, sneezing or straining, disequilibrium, oscillopsia (‘bouncy eyes’), distortion of hearing external noises, enhanced hearing of noises transmitted through bone (pulse, footsteps, even eye movements). The effects SSCD can have on a person are huge and extremely debilitating.
For Beth sounds were a huge problem for her as they increased her dizziness and even made her eyes bounce. This has improved since her surgery, however, she still hears her heart beating 24/7. It has also had a huge impact on her balance which has affected her ability to mobilise and live anything but a normal life. Despite surgery she still continues to suffer with constant dizziness. People are born with a predisposition to developing SSCD and need a ‘second event’ to trigger off the full blown condition. We now believe the lyme disease and multiple infections (one of which attacked her ear) set off her SSCD symptoms.
The “hole” is somewhere on the bone highlighted in red here
There is no ‘gold standard’ operation for this condition therefore treatment methods differs between specialists. Even after surgery some symptoms can still persist for some time.
Overall because the symptoms differ from person to person the condition is extremely difficult to treat. Please see timeline below with Beth’s work up to getting her SSCD diagnosis.
References: UCLA health – http://headandnecksurgery.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=154