By Goh Jiah Ying, IECRC
Dr Au Eong Kah Guan, Medical Director and Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist from International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, chaired a Continuing Medical Education lecture for medical doctors at the TK Low Academic Specialist Centre in Farrer Park Hospital on 3 August 2017. The lecture, titled “Vertigo and Tinnitus – When Your World Spins & Ring”, was delivered by Dr Lim Hsueh Yee Lynne, a Senior Ear Nose and Throat Consultant practising in Farrer Park Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
Tinnitus and vertigo are common but under-treated conditions which can greatly reduce one’s quality of life. They can lead to depression, withdrawals from social and work activities, and increased falls and accidents.
Tinnitus is a sensation of ringing or buzzing in the ear. It affects 1 in 5 people, and is actually a symptom of an underlying problem such as hearing loss. Other causes are ear infections, tumours, drug use, endocrine disorders, and neurological or circulatory problems. Stress-relief techniques, psychotherapy, tinnitus rehabilitation, hearing aid, tinnitus masker or music therapy can provide relief.
Ear-related giddiness is often described as a sensation of the room spinning or vertigo. Other causes of giddiness include drug use, metabolic, neurological, eye, circulatory or orthopaedic problems. For this reason, patients sometimes present themselves to the eye clinic.
Dr Lim discussed how a careful history, examination and a selected battery of tests can help to fully evaluate and diagnose patients presenting with these symptoms.