Managing Symptoms

People with a superior canal dehiscence typically fall into three categories:

1) Asymptomatic:

  • The syndrome causes no issues, and no action is required.

2) Symptomatic, but with manageable symptoms:

  • The syndrome causes some symptoms, but those symptoms are are manageable. Typically, no action is required, other than semi-regular checkups with an ENT specialist. Tips on managing symptoms are listed below.

3) Symptomatic, with symptoms that are unbearable:

  • The syndrome causes symptoms which severely impact quality-of-life. Surgery may be an option in these situations.

Managing Symptoms

Auditory issues

  • Surgery is typically the only way to resolve most auditory issues.
  • However, most auditory symptoms are resolved with surgery.
  • Additionally, some patients are able to adapt to auditory issues over an extended period of time without surgery, to the point where the symptoms are manageable.
  • Tinnitus isn't usually resolved by surgery, but there are several management and coping techniques that can help reduce tinnitus to a background noise.

Vestibular issues

  • Medication such as Venlafaxine (Effexor) has been shown to help reduce dizziness.
  • Vestibular Migraines can cause symptoms similar to those of SCDS. Dr. Carey at Johns Hopkins recommends the Migraine Diet [PDF File] as a way to rule out or help reduce vestibular migraines. 
  • A vestibular physiotherapist may also be of assistance with balance issues.

Mental Health issues

  • SCDS can contribute to heightened anxiety and episodes of depression.
  • For anxiety, many SCDS patients have reported that mindfulness and grounding exercises have been very effective in reducing anxiety.
    • For mindfulness/meditation, try smartphone apps like Headspace or Calm.
    • For grounding exercises, the 54321 Method is very effective for moments of heightened anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Medication: SSRIs such as Sertraline can help with depression and/or anxiety.
  • Counselling: sessions with a therapist that practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or one that has experience treating people with physical injuries) can be very helpful in reducing mental health issues caused by SCDS.

If SCDS symptoms severely impact your quality of life, you may want to speak to an SCDS specialist about surgical repair options.

Next: Surgical Repair