Researchers Uncover Biophysical Origins of Sound-Induced Vertigo If a certain sound leaves you feeling dizzy, you’re not alone. People with Tullio phenomena, or semicircular canal dehiscence, experience dizziness in response to certain sounds, changes in atmospheric pressure or coughing. The condition affects about one in 100 people. People experience the dizziness when their eyes receive an incorrect ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   October 01, 2018
Researchers Uncover Biophysical Origins of Sound-Induced Vertigo
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Balance & Balance Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   October 01, 2018
Researchers Uncover Biophysical Origins of Sound-Induced Vertigo
The ASHA Leader, October 2018, Vol. 23, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.23102018.16
The ASHA Leader, October 2018, Vol. 23, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.23102018.16
If a certain sound leaves you feeling dizzy, you’re not alone. People with Tullio phenomena, or semicircular canal dehiscence, experience dizziness in response to certain sounds, changes in atmospheric pressure or coughing. The condition affects about one in 100 people.
People experience the dizziness when their eyes receive an incorrect signal from the ears, causing the eyes to rotate automatically instead of stabilizing vision during head movement. While often tied to a defect in the bone housing the inner ear’s vestibular semicircular canals, the exact mechanisms underlying the problem have been unclear.

People experience dizziness because their eyes receive an incorrect signal from the ears.

To further investigate the cause, researchers at the University of Utah, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Mississippi monitored the neurons and inner ear fluid motion in toadfish, an animal with inner ear balance organs similar to humans. When sound energy entered the inner ear at the oval window, it excited fluid motion at the location of the hole in the bone, and sent the incorrect signal—that head movement occurred—to the brain. The findings were published recently in Scientific Reports.
“What wasn’t known was the ‘Why?’ What exactly causes the symptoms patients have? This finally connects the symptoms and the dehiscence in a precise biophysical way,” says senior author Richard Rabbitt, biomedical engineering professor at the University of Utah.
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October 2018
Volume 23, Issue 10