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Can Tinnitus Cause Vertigo? Are They Closely Linked?

By James Donovan

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This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Tinnitus and vertigo are two conditions that can greatly impact one’s quality of life. While they may seem unrelated at first, there is a complex interplay between these two ailments that often causes them to co-occur.

Tinnitus is often described as a ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling, or other noise in the ear or head. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), nearly 25 million adults in the United States have experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.

Vertigo, on the other hand, is a spinning sensation that can make a person feel dizzy, unbalanced, or disoriented. Approximately 69 million Americans have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction, which includes vertigo.

In this article, we will explore the relationship between tinnitus and vertigo, the potential causes, and what can be done to manage these conditions.

Key takeaways:

Tinnitus is the sensation of noise or ringing in the ears without an identifiable external origin, while vertigo entails a perception of spinning or dizziness, commonly accompanied by a lack of balance.
Tinnitus can sometimes be associated with vertigo and in some cases, they can occur together, particularly if they share an underlying cause, such as certain inner ear disorders.
It’s crucial to explore potential treatments and identify the root cause for effective management if you’re encountering both tinnitus and vertigo simultaneously.

What Is Tinnitus And Vertigo?

Rather than being a standalone condition, tinnitus manifests as a symptom of an underlying issue. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, head or neck injuries, certain medications, and underlying health conditions such as Meniere’s disease or acoustic neuroma.

The ringing or buzzing sound associated with tinnitus is often the result of damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear or an issue with the auditory nerve pathways that transmit sound signals to the brain.

Tinnitus And Vertigo

Vertigo is a distinct type of dizziness characterized by a spinning or whirling sensation as if the world is rotating around you. It is often caused by problems within the vestibular system, which is responsible for maintaining balance and spatial orientation.

The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and consists of fluid-filled semicircular canals and otolith organs that detect head movements and gravity. Vertigo can result from issues with these structures, such as inflammation, injury, or abnormal fluid buildup.

Relationship Between Tinnitus And Vertigo

As mentioned by the National Library of Medicine, the inner ear houses not only the structures responsible for hearing (cochlea) but also those responsible for balance and equilibrium (vestibular system).

This close anatomical proximity between the auditory and vestibular systems in the inner ear explains why tinnitus and vertigo can often occur together. Damage or dysfunction to the inner ear structures can simultaneously affect both hearing and balance, leading to the development of tinnitus and vertigo.

“The inner ear is a complex and delicate structure, and any disruption to its function can have far-reaching consequences,” explains Dr. Michael Seidman, an otolaryngologist at the Henry Ford Health System. “Tinnitus and vertigo can be manifestations of the same underlying problem, such as an inner ear disorder or nerve pathway issue.”

Can Vertigo And Tinnitus Occur Together?

Absolutely. Tinnitus and vertigo can co-occur due to their shared anatomical origins in the inner ear. Many conditions that affect the inner ear structures can cause both symptoms simultaneously.

According to the WebMD, Meniere’s disease can cause both tinnitus and vertigo to occur at the same time. This is because Meniere’s disease involves an abnormal buildup of fluid in the inner ear, which can disrupt both the auditory and vestibular systems.

Possible Conditions That Cause Vertigo And Tinnitus

Several conditions can lead to the development of both tinnitus and vertigo. Here are some of them:

Cause Of Vertigo And Tinnitus

1. Meniere’s Disease: As mentioned earlier, Meniere’s disease is characterized by fluctuating episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of pressure or fullness in the affected ear. It is caused by an imbalance of fluids in the inner ear.

2. Labyrinthitis: This is an inflammation of the inner ear labyrinth, which houses both the cochlea (for hearing) and the vestibular system (for balance). Labyrinthitis can lead to vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss.

3. Acoustic Neuroma: It refers to a benign tumor growing along the primary nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain. As it grows, it can cause tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss.

4. Otosclerosis: This is an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear that can cause progressive hearing loss. In some cases, it can also lead to vertigo and tinnitus.

5. Head or Neck Injuries: Trauma to the head or neck can damage the inner ear structures or the associated nerve pathways, resulting in both tinnitus and vertigo.

6. Certain Medications: Some medications, such as certain antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and diuretics, can have ototoxic effects, potentially causing tinnitus and vertigo as side effects. Sinus infections can also lead to dizziness although it is not a common cause.

As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Tinnitus and vertigo can be symptoms of many different underlying conditions, many of which are related to the inner ear or nerve pathways involved in hearing and balance.”

You might also like to read: Can Allergies Cause Tinnitus? Exploring The Link!

Strategies For Managing Vertigo And Tinnitus

If you are experiencing both tinnitus and vertigo, it is important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional, such as an audiologist or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist).

Treatment options may include:

➡️Medication: Depending on the underlying cause, medications such as antivirals, steroids, or diuretics may be prescribed to reduce inflammation, fluid buildup, or other factors contributing to tinnitus and vertigo.

➡️ Vestibular Rehabilitation: This form of physical therapy can help retrain the brain to compensate for vestibular dysfunction, improving balance and reducing vertigo symptoms.

➡️ Sound Therapy: For tinnitus management, various sound therapy techniques, such as tinnitus masking or tinnitus retraining therapy, can help reduce the perception of the ringing or buzzing sounds.

➡️ Lifestyle Changes: Certain lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, stress management, and avoidance of potential triggers, can help alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus and vertigo.

➡️ Surgery: In some cases, surgical intervention may be recommended to remove tumors, correct bone growths, or address other structural issues that are causing tinnitus and vertigo.

Managing tinnitus and vertigo can be a process, but with the right approach, many individuals can find relief and improve their ear health and overall well-being.


Tinnitus and vertigo are closely linked conditions that often co-occur due to their shared anatomical origins in the inner ear. Damage or dysfunction to the delicate structures responsible for hearing and balance can simultaneously cause ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus) and a spinning or whirling sensation (vertigo).

While tinnitus and vertigo can be challenging to manage, seeking professional medical attention and following a personalized treatment plan can help alleviate these symptoms and improve overall well-being. By understanding the relationship between these conditions and their potential causes, individuals can take proactive steps toward finding relief and regaining their quality of life.


1. Can loose ear crystals cause tinnitus?

Loose ear crystals, also known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), typically cause vertigo rather than tinnitus. However, some individuals with BPPV may experience accompanying symptoms such as ringing in the ears.

2. Are there any exercises for tinnitus and vertigo?

While there are no specific exercises that can directly cure tinnitus or vertigo, there are some techniques and exercises that may help manage the symptoms associated with these conditions. They include balance exercises, relaxation techniques, habituation exercises, etc.

3. Can stress cause vertigo and tinnitus?

Yes, stress can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of vertigo and tinnitus in some people.

4. Is vertigo a secondary condition to tinnitus?

No, vertigo is not necessarily a secondary condition to tinnitus. While they can co-occur due to their shared origins in the inner ear, vertigo, and tinnitus can also develop independently of each other, depending on the underlying cause.

5. Why are my ears ringing and I feel dizzy?

If you’re experiencing both tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness or vertigo, it could be a sign of an inner ear disorder or an issue with the nerve pathways responsible for hearing and balance. Conditions like Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis, acoustic neuroma, or head/neck injuries can cause these symptoms.

James Donovan

Dr. James Donovan, MD, is an esteemed otolaryngologist renowned for his exceptional expertise in ear, nose, and throat (ENT) health. With a profound dedication to advancing medical knowledge and improving patient outcomes, Dr. Donovan has emerged as a leading authority in the field.

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