Kasperian Moving Parts

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In-Ear Headphones and Puking Yer Guts Out?

| 58 Comments

I bought $180 of in-ear headphones to try out (the Shure SE210’s and the Sennheiser CX300’s) and both of them, I think, made me feel dizzy to the point of falling over and feeling like I was going to hurl my guts out the next morning. I’ve blogged previously about motion sickness, but this is just frightening and frustrating and badness.

Does this make any sense to anyone? Is it possible to be predisposed to dizziness and room-spinning-ness? Are in-ear, noise-isolating headphones known for making you feel dizzy, causing the room to spin on you, and not take effect until the next morning? I felt fine while I was listening to them. But after I took them off, went to bed, and got up the next morning, the room just spun ferociously.

Blef.

Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....

58 Comments

  1. My wife has had what amounts to rocks floating in the fluid in the ear’s semi-circular canals, which give the signals of motion even when you’re not moving. This can cause feelings of vertigo: http://www.plugup.com/balancingact.php

    Not sure how loud your music has to be to cause vertigo, though. Are you a head-banger? 🙂

  2. You might want to experiment with headphone DSP pre-amps. Here is the story:

    When you listen to stereo audio from speakers, the two channels do not just reach their respective ear unchanged. Instead there is echo in the room and crosstalk and delay between the channels.

    Now your brain is used to that. If the crosstalk does not happen it gets more or less confused. Normal headphones still have a _little_ bit of crosstalk, while in-ear ones totally eliminate it.

    Your audio processing center in the brain might just be very uncomfortable with the unnatural signal it’s getting.

    A headphone pre-amp&DSP fixes that: it simulates a natural listening room.

  3. Koss Porta Pro, nothing else.

    A legend.

  4. I am not a doctor, but: you should talk to a professional. Having dizziness in the morning might be serious health problem, and probably is NOT connected with listening with earphones the day before. If the headphones are causing the problem, you should start feeling a short time after you turn on the music, and that shouldn’t last long after you stop that activity. There’s no way it should induce dizziness the day after!

    Again, I am not a doctor (IANAD?), but I think you should talk to one about your problem ASAP. This might be something mild (weather change, stress, mild ear infections, etc.) but could be a really, really serious health issue as well. Don’t take it lightly.

  5. I have Shure E2c-s, and they’re working great for me. I do get nervous and uncomfortable after listening to them for several hours without interruption (which is remedied by taking them out for a couple of minutes), but nothing like the dizziness you describe (and certainly not anything the following morning…). (My armchair theory is it might have something to do with not getting any sort of stimulus to my ears from the outside world at all for an extended period, in my case.)

  6. I think the problem could be caused by increased pressure in your ear canals. Since the motion sensory functions of the body are in the ears it is possible. Perhaps the ear buds are pushing your canals in such a way that messes with the motion sensory of your ears. If you put them in without music playing do you get dizzy?

    I’m no doctor but I think it is likely to be the shape or the ear buds causing pressure, rather than the sound quality.

  7. Have cx300 and doesn’t have problems with them. They are working great.

  8. Um, not – the motion sensors are in the middle ear, far away from foreign objects, and can’t be interfered by sticking something blunt and relatively short in your ear.

  9. labyrinthitis?

  10. I am also not a doctor, but I once had a bad ear infection once where if I closed my eyes I’d become unstable and almost fall down. Apparently, my brain was using my eyes to make up for my messed up inner ear balance stuff. I have a set of Shure E3c headphones and they are pretty much earplugs with speakers in them. I also can’t hear anything around me when they are in which is great for planes. Try going to the pharmacy and seeing if earplugs cause you the same grief. Or ask your doctor.

  11. I _am_ a doctor. There are several cause, and you should have someone check you out, probably an otolargyngoloist. The worrisome thinks would be a perilymph fistula or ruptured oval window. You may just have a variant 10th cranial nerve (the same one that makes people gag) which supplies sensation to your ear canal (in which case, you are not going to be very happy to find out you just spent $180 on something you cannot use).

    But the point is don’t listen to anyone online and go have someone who knows what the hell they are doing check you out. Just like you wouldn’t believe someone who said “well, I don’t know anything about Linux…but why don’t you reboot since that helps my Windows PC”

  12. PS: have someone else drive you! People with vertigo shouldn’t drive. Or use Windows.

  13. Heh. Wow, thanks everyone for commenting! =:)

    @Tom: I’m not a headbanger, but I do like my music nice and loud. =:) And yeah, I’ve heard of the rocks/fluid/canal thing, but I thought that everybody had that?

    @Hans: Wow, thank you very much for the info! I’d never heard about headphone pre-amps before. I think I’ll probably just take back the in-ear ones I bought and use the standard iPod ear-buds. I can’t imagine how much headphone pre-amps cost, but being that I’m hesitant to spend $100 on headphones, I think I’d be loathe to spend any additional $$. =:)

    @illissius: I’m not sure I’d want to have to remember to keep taking breaks from my headphones. I typically listen to music for hours and hours on end while I work…. Although you’re saying you feel the effects immediately, so it’s probably not the same thing that I’m dealing with. =:/

    @mikmach: Yeah, I read really great things about the cx300’s, but compared to the Shures, they really sounded odd and heavy. I know they’re supposed to be bassey, and they are, but I think they put too much emphasis on bass and the rest of the music sounds not as good as the Shures.

    @Glitch: Yeah, I actually kind of liked the Shures. Especially with the new memory-foam-type earplugs. Kept a lot of noise out, which is what I was looking for. It just kind of freaked me out with this dizziness. I think I’m going to let my body recover before trying any more in-ear headphones.

    and @DrK: Thanks for the comment! =:) Actually, I just went to the doctor today. I’ve been having other flu/sickie-like symptoms (not to mention not getting a whole heck of a lot of sleep lately and been under a lot of stress, and not drinking enough water, etc., etc.), so she wrote me a script for some Amoxicillin to help kick whatever sinus/flu thing I have. I had this weird dizzy thing last year too, and it was while I was sick and had an ear infection, so I’m hopeful that this will go away with the sinus/flu thing. The weird thing this time was that I wasn’t really aware of a bad cold/sinus/flu thing when I started feeling dizzy.

    So I’m taking the $180 worth of sound-isolating headphones back. I must be out of my mind to even be thinking about spending that kind of money on headphones. =:/

    And I think that’s my new favorite quote: “People with vertigo shouldn’t drive. Or use Windows.” =;D

    Thanks everybody! =:)

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  15. So, now that it has been a few months, can you update? I am JUST having this problem. I’m using regular ordinary ear buds that came with my iPod shuffle which I got to mitigate the tedious bus commute I have and to provide background noise while at work. I don’t play the music very loud at all …. BUT …. I’ve been battle the spins for well over a week and have only been ‘addicted’ to this iPod shuffle business for about three weeks. I’ve been taking an anti-biotic and that hasn’t helped a thing. So …. like you, this started unexpectedly about two weeks of consistent (5 hours a day?) listening to music with ear buds. What ever happened with you and your deal?

  16. @Renee: Hi!! =:) My dizziness kept getting worse and worse until I had to go into the emergency room and thereafter the hospital, where they kept me for the weekend and ran every test they could think of. In hindsight, I’m not 100% convinced that it was the headphones that caused all of the trouble, but I think that they were just another factor in the mixture of things that whacked my head.

    The doctors never did find anything wrong with me, other than the fact that I was a little dehydrated. Nothing wrong with any blood tests, CAT scans, MRI’s… no liver problems, no Lyme disease… nothing. I even went to a neurologist (who was worthless and I’ll never go back to her again). And finally, I went through 6 weeks of physical therapy to align my spine a little better, since it was slightly out of whack.

    All told, though, the doctors were pretty nonchalant about this whole thing (which had me totally stressed out and I thought I was dying). They said that probably 50% of the time that things like this happen (debilitating dizziness–and apparently, it happens FAR more commonly than people think), they never do find out what caused it. It just happens sometimes. Sometimes it never comes back and sometimes it does. Comforting, eh? I’ve since found out that my mom has had problems with debilitating dizziness too, so maybe there’s something hereditary. *shrug*

    I think that I believe now that what happened was that I was under a lot of stress during this time and my body wasn’t handling it well. I also think that the headphones caused the little stones in my inner ears to reposition themselves, which caused my brain to freak out and not be able to balance itself like it used to be able to. I did the sit-up-then-lying-down-quickly exercises which are supposed to force your brain to re-learn where its balance is, and I think that helped.

    At any rate, I haven’t had any more problems with dizziness since this. And I’ve used a couple of other pairs of in-ear headphones without any adverse affects. I did notice, however, that my brain/ears do _not_ like in-ear headphones at all, since they block out _everything_, including the normal ambient noises that my ears use to find balance. So I’m not going to do that anymore. =:)

    Anyway, I REALLY hope your dizziness gets better. =:( I’d definitely keep going back to the doctor, though, until things get better. My doctor ended up prescribing Antivert for a little while, and I think that that was the biggest help prescription-wise. You can also find the dizziness/balance exercises (like here: http://tinyurl.com/6cbvjr) online, but I would definitely get advice from your doctor before you try doing them. I think they can cause problems (stroke, etc.) in some people.

    Please let me know how things go for you with this!! =:)

  17. Just wanted to thank everyone for their comments and of course Jason for originally posting this.. I’m having the same problem with my new earphones and I wasn’t sure if I was alone in the gagging sensation when I use them. I guess I should see Dr. Drk!

  18. Hi @Neal! =:)

    I think I’ve settled on the Sennheiser PX 100 Collapsible Headphones and have given up on trying in-ear headphones (especially ear-canal headphones). I’m so sorry to hear you’re having problems too. =:(

  19. I’ve had vertigo for over 20 years and have the type where the small particles/rocks are floating around within the semi-circular canals…and have had every test run in the book. The vertigo comes and goes about every 6 months. I just got an iphone and earbuds and went through a marathon of yard work yesterday where I wore earbuds for an unusually long time/full blast and then this morning woke up with my classic vertigo of loose particles/rocks floating down the semi-circular canals again. The exact same sensation happened when I road a roller coaster and the vibrations broke off some of these little particles (when they roll down the canal after they break off they give the sensation of turning/moving when you’re not which makes you sick). I’m convinced that the micro-vibrations from the loud music caused some of these particles to break loose again (the vibrations from the tractor probably didn’t help either, but I’ve used it a lot before without the earbud/loud music and didn’t have a problem) ….just wanted to pass that on. Fortunately, these little particles/rocks in the semi-circular canal have what amounts to velcro on them and they can become re-attached after a few days… I’m putting my ultra expensive earbuds on the shelf…

  20. Hi @sean! Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that. =:( Is there anything the doctors can do to help? Have you tried the exercises they can have you do to help reposition the rocks? I think they helped me a little bit last time I had this. And yeah, I’m with you… I’m not trying the in-the-ear-canal headphones again probably ever again.

  21. Wow… I’m so thankful for this thread. I put the chain of events together based on my recent dizziness and my music and thought, “there’s no WAY taking a walk with earbuds in can be doing this to me,” but sure enough – the last two times I have gone for a 45-minute walk while listening to my ipod, I’ve awoken the following day with my vertigo. I saw my doctor last week (after puking my own guts out) and he assessed my condition as a benign vertigo and gave me some mechlizine (SP?) for motion sickness to ease my stomach. I have a follow-up visit scheduled in a couple of weeks and I think I’ll discuss it with him. Poor doctors – they have to get absolutely inundated with questions from patients who have so much information (or disinformation) available to them. Thanks for allowing me to share!

  22. Hi Mark! =:) Yeah, I’ve sworn that I’ll never use in-ear headphones again. IIUC, it all has to do with the little rocks that @sean mentioned that help your body/ears/brain to establish movement, and it seems quite plausible to me that loud, directed sonic activity can certainly cause the incapacitating dizziness that I (and just about everyone else on this post) have felt. My doctors were very confused by my symptoms and the never did diagnose me with anything. I was given AntiVert, iirc and some muscle-relaxing scripts, and those seemed to help.

    I wish you the best of luck!!! =:)

  23. Sorry to hear that. This iphone/earbud episode was the worst attack I’ve had in 15 years (loosing your dinner and the like). I could feel it coming on even before I got up…but it is slowly subsiding. After more research I found that doctors do use vibrations to help resuspend these particles so that you can clear them out through these different head manuever exersizes. Also this old Army helicopter pilot told me yesterday that they routinely used tuning forks to create harmonic vibrations behind the ear to treat motion sickness (not sure exactly how…). Anyways, it backed up the notion that loud harmonic vibrations (earbuds) could resuspend particles (breaking them off the inner wall of the canals…they can attach like velcro but also break off again) that can then cause the attacks.
    Inspired by this thread (thanks Jason for starting this), I checked out some more sights that you might find helpful.

    http://www.dizziness-and-balance.com/disorders/bppv/bppv.html

    http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/884261-overview

    Using these sights I was able to finally tell which ear was causing the problem and therefore which set of head movements triggered the attack…and also which of the recommended exercises could clear out the particles. The only problem is that I did 1 rep and I was puking my guts out…I think I’m going to wait a while before trying that again…for now, I’m going with the “wait it out” method (which has a bunch of management tips for sleeping etc.)…which has worked for the past 28 years…

  24. Great post! I’ve had vertigo problems for over 10 years now. Comes around once every six months or so. And I’ve recently noticed a correlation with ear-phones giving me slight dizziness after extended periods of time.

    Also noticed that having just one ear-phone on usually prevents this (maybe because I tend to favor my ‘healthy’ ear?).

    Those exercises look interesting. Might give them a try next time. Normally I just wait it out. Sometimes sleeping for a few hours helps. Can take up to a day or so to fully recover. Any movement during this time usually immediately triggers a crippling dizziness, but standing still / lying down feels almost normal.

  25. Ugh – I think this may have something to do with it. I had spells in the morning and nighttime [whenever I laid down] for two days a month ago. It went away, but just came back this morning. My mind went everywhere – do I have a tumor? did I get some STD? will I wake up in the morning? I’m a healthy 24 yo, so this was really surprising and confusing to me. Since it disappeared before I could go to the hospital, I figured I was okay, but now that it’s back I’m worried.

    Yesterday I was listening to my in-ear monitors louder and longer than I normally would as I went about the city. I think they may have contributed to an ear infection or loosening of the ear canal rocks or whatever…and that combined with some romance-related stress and sleeplessness that began the week I first got dizzy, I think it might be stress and in-ear phones? Hopefully. I’m going to wait this second time out, see if it goes away in the next day or two and go to the hospital if it ever happens again.

  26. @Chloe: =:((( I’m so sorry to hear that! The scary thing is that at least with me, the doctors had NO idea what was causing it. =:( I hope you get better!!

  27. wow, i’ve been experiencing vertigo after using my in-ear headphones, and thought i was the only one who suffered from this. this thread really helped, thanks everyone! i was wondering: for those who get vertigo after using in-ear headphones, does it also happen after using headband-style headphones (the ones that look like earmuffs)? i’m asking because i’m about to go on a long flight soon and would really like to listen to my music but it would be a pain to end up getting vertigo while i’m on vacation! thanks in advance.

  28. Hi @kristine,

    The only headphones I’ve experienced this with are the in-ear ones. HTH! =:)

  29. okay thanks! i remember this didn’t happen to me either, a few years ago when it was still cool to use the headband type headphones, but i just wanted to see what others experienced. thanks again 🙂

  30. Wow thanks for all the comments on this thread, I’ve been experiencing the exact same symptoms with my new in-ear-canal earbuds — specifically the ER6I’s from Etymotic Research.

    I woke up dizzy the morning after using the earbuds for longer than usual. This happened twice before I noticed any kind of correlation. I’ve had no problems with regular earbuds, but these are much more intense and sound isolating than usual.

    I’m going to see an ENT doctor, discontinue the use of ANY earbuds, and hope for the best.

    Thanks everyone!

  31. It is amazing the number of people who feel they know things from their common sense.

    I have had two vertigo attacks from earphones worn at night. The first was severe enough to wake me. Although it occurred to me that the headphones might be responsible for the vertigo, common sense led me to believe it was a new medication that was the culprit. Months later, and long after I quit taking the medication, I wore the ear phones again, and awoke so dizzy that I could not stand up, and in fact, could not stay on all fours. I came to this thread from a search, which has discovered others who have questioned this correlation.

  32. Ugh! I’m so sorry to hear that, trust! I sincerely hope you get better and get better quickly!

    As I type this right now, I’m on the tail end of recovering from yet another vertigo attack. My doctor diagnosed me with BPPV this time, thankfully. I say thankfully because the last time this happened, I was in the hospital for 3 days and at the end of it, I wasn’t diagnosed with anything and the doctors and nurses were saying discouraging things like “oh, sometimes people just get dizzy!” So this time I was immediately prescribed AntiVert (Meclizine) which has made this vertigo onslaught much more tolerable. I’m reading up on modified Epley’s maneuvers and I’m going to try them today when I come home from church. Soooo tired of this vertigo and dizziness stufff!

    But yeah, trust, I feel that there has to be some correlation between loud, in-ear sounds and the disturbing of calcium crystals in our inner ear canals that helps to trigger dizziness and vertigo. I sincerely hope you get better quickly!

  33. Thank god for this thread!! i woke up early this mornimg and within minutes of tryin to lift my head from the pillow i felt dizzy and out of balance almost, it was so unnerving! at first i didn’t know what was going on, then it clicked that I’d been listening to rather loud music, with a lot of bass through head phones before going to sleep. (for lik 1 hr) I still have it now, its not too severe but its def there. It happened all of a sudden…i hope it clears soon!

  34. Ugh! I hope it clears soon for you too!!!

  35. I’ve got it to and the bit about noise-cancelling is a ruse. It dosen’t matter what type of earphones/buds I use, I get severe motion sickness.

  36. It’s such a relief to read all of these posts. I too started working out again, and was loving my music with my earbuds in for about 2 hours a day. After 2 weeks, woke up and fell straight back onto the bed! Dizzy! Some dizzy spells were very disorienting, but mostly just a constant, dull dizzy feeling. I felt sure that it was from the ear buds, because I was feeling so great in every other way! I’ve had it for 2 and a half days now. If it doesn’t seem better tomorrow will see a Dr….but my instincts tell me it’s the cranked music in my ear buds!!

  37. I used my ear buds as ear plugs yesterday while mowing the lawn.This morning had the spins and nausea so it seems that the loudness of the sound and the quality of the buds is irrelevant.It’s just the pressure on the inner ear.

  38. Me too have the same problem .Whenever i used earphone in listening music the next morning i will feel dizzy .It happens several times at first i didnt noticed that but now im really really sure that when ever i used eaphone my motion sickness will attacked.

  39. hi all, i’m happy to read of all your experiences.

    a year ago, i woke up with diminished hearing in my right ear. after a week, the ear-nose-throat doctor said i had most likely had a virus in my ear that gobbled up some nerve endings, and it would most likely heal with time because of my youth (30 yrs old) and health.

    i went to the emergency room two days ago over night because i was throwing up so much that i thought i was going to die! i couldn’t get off the bathroom floor. i was sweating out of every pore, shirt soaked, despite a low temperature. weird. any movement on the way to the hospital made me wretch, even though no fluid was left. i probably threw up 20-30 times over the entire evening. they hooked me up with gravol and a potassium drip through IV because i wasn’t holding anything in. as the night progressed, i did too. i was able to walk to the taxi on my own in the morning.

    i have also been wondering if my in-ear phones, which i listen to for hours on end sometimes while i do woodworking and listen to audio books, are the cause of my vertigo woes. i used to listen in the car while driving, too, (save your judgment) and will only put one in on my good ear. i had listened to my in-ear phones for a few continuous hours for a day or the morning before (can’t remember) the big attack.

    i’m going to be much more cautious about levels of pressure in that ear. there’s a toronto blue jays commentator who wears his non-in-ear headphones only over his non-tinnitus ear because he was told that headphones (perhaps of any type) may cause or aggravate tinnitus. maybe it’s the same for vertigo.

    thanks for all your time sharing about this problem. you’ve made me feel more understanding of the body i now have!

    peace

  40. Wow, thanks for the comments, guys! I am still amazed and frightened that so many of us suffer from this completely debilitating problem. Last time it happened to me (it’s happened to me twice now and the last time was a couple of years ago), my doctor finally diagnosed me with BPPV and gave me medicine (AntiVert, IIRC) to help me get through the next few days it takes to recover. This alone was a huge relief because prior to that, the medical establishment gave me a huge shoulder shrug and told me that that just happens sometimes and they don’t really know why. At least now I have the hope that the next time this happens, I should be able to get a prescription quickly to make life livable again. Our bodies are truly fearfully and wonderfully made and when things like this happen, it is utterly terrifying. Hang in there, everyone! Try to get a doctor to diagnose your condition properly because until they do, they won’t prescribe any medication for your symptoms. Blessings on you all. =:)

  41. My daughter has been experiencing the same symptoms, all tests normal. Then I figured out what she was doing on weekends prior to the dizziness four weeks in a row; listening to audio books or music with ear bud headphones because she was not allowed to look at screens. It sounds like this reaction to ear buds is rare but based on the posts, it is a real concern, and possible cause. Thanks for your posts. If you are experiencing similar issues, please leave a post so the rate of incidences can be more well known.

  42. just an update on my situation: i was diagnosed with meniere’s disease a week ago. one of the tests used to differentiate my vertigo from a bppv person’s vertigo is a VNG test, where they manipulate you in various ways and video record how your eyes react. One of the manipulations was a more peaceful version than what they’ll do to you in hospitals: in one ear after the other they will place a small tube that is sealed in your ear by an earplug. out of this tube they shoot first cold air and then for another test warm air for one minute. they are short intermittent blasts of air, not extremely uncomfortable, but certainly odd. i did not experience vertigo until halfway through the minute, when my vision began to swim.

    i suspect that those of us who have tight-fitting in-ear headphones are creating similar conditions. the question is why don’t all people with in-ear headphones experience this? perhaps our middle ear is sensitive to pressure differentials? perhaps there is a type of pressure valve on the product that is malfunctioning?

    not sure, but i thought i’d share my experiences with the otolaryngologists i’ve run into.

  43. Wow am I ever glad I came across this! I literally just puked my guts out 5 minutes ago and I’m laying on the bathroom floor googling my symptoms. All I have are regular blackberry earbuds, nothing to fancy, not noise-cancelling. But it all clicks. I’ve been using my earbuds a lot more and 2 nights ago at work I was super dizzy, couldn’t walk straight to save my life, no appetite and it really scared me.
    About a half hour ago I popped my earbuds in to watch a youtube video and I got about half way through (15 min) and had to take them out and lay down…next thing you know, I’m seeing my breakfast again. :'(
    I’ve never had problems with earbuds before. I’m really healthy, there isn’t any way I couldve picked up a bug, or food poisoning….so, its gotta be the earbuds 🙁
    I’m so glad I found this site! Now I can rest easy.

  44. Wow, Jodi, I am SO sorry to hear that! That sounds absolutely awful! If the symptoms persist or recur, you might want to see your doctor about it. This horrible dizziness has happened to me several times since I originally posted this. The last time, my doctor finally diagnosed me with BPPV. This is excellent news because now I can get AntiVert prescribed for me quickly the next time this happens instead of having to struggle through it. Our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made, but when something like this goes wrong, it sure makes it hard to live. Hoping the best for you!

  45. Yikes, I’m sorry to hear that, Simon! My brother-in-law has Ménière’s disease too and it is no fun at all. Surprising to me, though, was that for him, they treat his symptoms with salt restriction or elimination pills. IIUC, for him at least, high sodium levels set off the dizziness and other symptoms. For BPPV sufferers like me, IIUC it’s the tiny stones in our inner ears that get repositioned and then it takes our bodies a while to get used to which way is up. Crazy!

    And yeah, I think things like in-ear headphones and changes in pressure will affect certain people in the population differently than others, unfortunately.

    Anyway, I hope you’re doing well over there. Merry almost Christmas to you and everyone else who has commented on this post over the years! =:)

  46. Wow! So many people with the same symptoms. I’m guessing everyone googled after their first experience and this page is among the first few results on google.
    I got my new Sennheiser in ear headphones and less than 5 minutes of the first song I listened to made me nauseous. Been having this for a week now.
    But here’s the interesting part. I’ve been using an in ear headphone (from an old nokia phone) for many years without any problems. I’ve used others too but mainly those that came with phones. None of them gave me this.
    I’ve noticed that the sound is high for the same volume levels in my laptop when compared to that in my previous earphones.
    So there is something specific about it which makes me sick.
    In general I do have a case of motion sickness. Playing first person shooters like far cry will have me throwing up within a few mins.

  47. As it appears your family blog site has sort of turned into a forum for vertigo (although with an emphasis on vertigo triggered by in-ear earbuds – which is what brought me to you), I think this is a good thing.

    But in case anyone – including you yourself – are still tuning in about the vertigo thing – I thought I’d weigh in. I Just stumbled across your site this evening – although I see the posts go back to 2008.

    Just to give everyone comfort, what most of the commentors suffer from – in fact probably all of them have – is not going to kill them. It’s not even the leading indicator of anything that’s going to kill them As you (the blogsite’s authori) indicated above, it is BPPV.

    My head started spinning when I was 26 years old. It was pretty freaky when it started. As this was 1990 and pre-Internet days, and I only relied on what doctors and various other people in my network of friends told me. Which was essentially zero.

    It was awful. I think I added a small number of new wings onto the homes of several Chicago-area ENT and neurologists I was marched in front of — each one equally perplexed as the last.

    Oh – and just for extra fun – I was just about to enter law school. (Try telling your legal writing professor that you couldn’t submit the paper on time due to tossing your cookies that morning; you can count the nanoseconds before you get the rolled eyes, “looks like you can’t handle the stress” look.) I only hope that nowadays as this gets more out there, there may be more sympathy on the part of bosses, teachers, spouses and colleagues.

    It was a full six years after my first attack when I finally ended up in the office of Dr. Tim Hain at N’Western here in Chicago. (No – this is not a plug, just a helpful “FYI” – trust me, after what I went thru in the early 1990s my regard for the medical profession hit rock bottom.) He was just starting his practice – which was slightly controversial among his peers at the time. Within a year after that I was intro’d to the Epley maneuvre, and weaning myself off the Meclizine. It finalliy went dormant – for years – starting in the early 2000s.

    It has cropped up again occasionally, but I think my days of the morning whirlybirds are at least over. (That was the worst – I thought my brain was exploding or something.) When it comes on it’s usually triggered by something I’dve identified, and I swing into action to minimize the effects.

    BTW, that’s the key. Everyone needs to ID their own the triggers. My number one trigger? Plane travel. (And multiply that if it’s plane travel while I’m battlling a cold or allergies.) When flying anywhere I dry myself up with decongestants and antihistiimines (not sure the connection between the ear crystals and drying out, but I just know it works), and pack an arsenal of Meclizine just in case.

    So far in 8 years now I’ve only taken Meclizine once – after a flight from Europe (surprise surprise) where I’d think I’d just gotten complacent about my pre-flight “drying out” protocol.

    I have become somewhat of a magnet here in Chicago for other BPPV sufferers in the area, as my friends and other people I’ve helped have put the word out. My advice to you and anyone you encounter that comes under this heinous disorder is to talk to an ENT or Neuro that specializes in BPPV. Yes, cross off the horrible brain diseases off the list first if you see the need (as you and I both had to), but once that’s done the next step is to attack the BPPV. While sufferers don’t necessarily need to go see Dr. Hain, they may want to at least check out his web site. (BTW, among other things his site features his interview on the topic with NPR),

    Stay steady!

    J. Stein in Chicago

  48. It’s not BPPV! All I had to do was stop using in ear headphones.

  49. I’ve been diagnosed with Menieres, was listening to in-ear headphones, but haven’t had an attack in 9 months. Still listening to the in-ears as much as before. The attacks just started spacing themselves out more and more. No science that I’m aware of that supports in-ear headphones being a problem. Let us know if you find something solid.

  50. I just bought a 79 NT Xiaomi in-hear awesome earphones. It’s cheap because it’s christmas… I used it and then I get really dizzy, why’s that? It feels like I’m back on a boat. The earphones are approximately 2 dollars US

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