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      What you need to know about cochlear hydrops

      On Tuesday 5 July the story broke that Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford has claimed he is risking permanent hearing loss in his left ear by continuing to compete. A whiplash injury he sustained in his last competition caused a severe inner ear condition called cochlear hydrops. Our Senior Audiologist Gemma Twitchen explains more about the condition.

      By: Gemma Twitchen | 06 July 2016

      “Cochlear hydrops is a condition that affects the vestibular (balance) system of inner ear. It is caused when there is an abnormal fluctuation in endolymphatic fluid, which fills the hearing and balance structures of the inner ear leading to an increase in pressure and a distended endolymphatic space referred as Endolymphatic hydrops.

      “Someone with this condition may present feeling of fullness in the ears, tinnitus, fluctuating hearing loss, a loss of balance and dizziness. The symptoms may improve or subside during each fluctuation in the build-up of fluid.

      “There are two types – primary (idiopathic) where the cause is not known which is also known as
      Ménière's disease, and secondary, which may be caused by head trauma, allergy and underlying issue such as autoimmune disease. Greg reports that he believes his long jumping may have caused which may indicate that he has been informed he has secondary endolymphic hydrops. If you experience any of these symptoms it is best to speak to your GP and ask for a referral to Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) where you will be investigated for what may be causing your symptoms.

      If you are diagnosed with Ménière's disease or endolymphatic hydrops there are a number of options available to help you manage the condition. For example, you may be advised to reduce alcohol and caffeine intake; you may be prescribed medication to help reduce the effects on balance; diuretics may be prescribed and you may also be offered vestibular rehabilitation to help reduce the impacts of balance and dizziness when the “attacks” arise. Sometimes a hearing aid may be issued if there is a hearing loss that would benefit from this.”

      If you've missed it, you can read the news story about Greg Rutherford here

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      Our ears are our organs of hearing and balance. They have three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.