Superior Canal Dehiscence (SCD) is an opening in the bone that covers one of the semicircular canals of the inner ear. The cause of this condition is unknown; it could be congenital (present from birth) or due to infections or head trauma.
- Fullness or pressure in the ears
- Sensitivity to loud sounds
- Oscillopsia (appearance of movement in stationary objects)
- Autophony (hearing your own voice or sounds, like breathing or blinking louder than normal)
Some symptoms, like vertigo and oscillopsia, can be triggered by activities that change ear pressure, such as straining, coughing, sneezing, heavy lifting, exercising, and listening to loud noises. In some cases, symptoms of vertigo and oscillopsia may not be present at all.
Your doctor will ask you many different questions to obtain a thorough case history. There are several tests they can perform to visualize the problem, including a CT scan of the temporal bone. You may also require a hearing test from an audiologist, a complete balance test, and a vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) test.
A VEMP test is painless and consists of electrodes that are taped onto the skin on one side of the neck or around the eyes. Sound is then introduced into one ear and the muscle response is measured from the neck or eyes.
Most patients with SCD are able to cope with the symptoms and carry on with their daily lives while avoiding activities that trigger symptoms. If they can’t avoid loud areas, people find it helpful to use hearing protection.
Some patients with SCD don’t experience any symptoms. However, for patients with severe SCD, surgical repair may be the only option to improve the quality of life. This procedure is called Superior Canal Dehiscence Repair.