In some people the bone of the superior semicircular canal of the inner ear disappears and the balance mechanism becomes in contact with the covering of the brain. This creates a third window in the inner ear. Normally we have two windows, the oval and the round window. When the ear drum vibrates to sound the little bones of hearing vibrate and the stapes bone vibratesin the oval window. When there arethree windows present many different symptoms can occur. What is interesting is that each patient can have different symptoms, which includes hearing loss, dizziness, fullness in the ear, autophonia (hearing ones voice loudly), pulsating tinnitus, having dizziness when there is loud sound, hearing ones footsteps or eyeballs moving, dizziness when there is pressure in ear canal. Closing the dehiscence surgically requires major surgery lifting the brain or going through the mastoid bone.
A minimally invasive surgery has been developed that reduces the symptoms significantly so that the patients may not require the major procedure. The procedure is done as an outpatient and a small piece of tissue is placed on the round window membrane which partially closes the third window.
The results of a multi-institutional study have been published and can be read by clicking here.
If you would like more information please make an appointment to see Dr. Herbert Silverstein or Dr. Jack Wazen at the Silverstein Institute.