vibrations, so upset, is there a name for this?

Briefly - several severe vertigo episodes 8-11 years ago, told it was vm, menieres, atypical menieres, etc, basically no real firm diagnosis. Vertigo went away until Jan of this year when I had a very mild attack wake me which was followed by a week of hell. No more vertigo but I had extreme sensitivity to noises and motion. The noise from chewing was intolerable, washing dishes was intolerable, walking was intolerable, touching my left ear was intolerable, as all of this would “jar my brain.” I would get bad brain zaps, vibrations, pulsions, i honestly don’t even know what to call it. I went to the doctor and found one ear was very impacted with wax and the other quite close to being impacted. Had it removed and in a couple of days I was feeling great!

A month ago I had my hearing tested and there was no wax in my ears, perfectly clean. Suddenly today these “brain zaps/vibrations” started again, out of the blue. Now i can barely walk because hitting my feet on the ground sends vibrations to my brain, can’t touch my left ear, can’t chew anything crunchy, can’t tolerate the noise of dishes, have to talk very quietly because I can’t even tolerate my own voice.

Anyone - is there a name for this? I hope to go to the doctor tomorrow, not sure what he will even do. But I need to know what the heck this is called or better yet, why it happens. Any names for this disorder, any ideas what causes it? I feel so frustrated.


We can’t really diagnose here, Bookworm. Sorry to hear you are going through this rubbish.

Sounds like ear trouble, of course. Get it checked out as you plan to.

I don’t think there is much you can do but avoid alcohol, salt, drink lots of water and wait it out til it settles.

The sensations you describe would be described as Autophony I think. May not be strictly an ear thing. If I were you I would go see an ENT doctor or even someone who specializes in Neurotology.

Thank you. I really wasn’t asking for a diagnosis, moreso a name as I can’t find anything that seems to fit and no one seems to have ever heard of this (including the doctors I saw last Jan). It got better after the was removal so we assumed that was the end of it. I checked out autophony (which I hadn’t heard of but I don’t think that it’s as i’m not hearing other bodily noises and my own voice isn’t especially loud, it’s just that I’m very sensitive to it. I thought maybe hyperascusis (sp) and I see there are 4 main kinds of that but none of those seem to fit. I’m at a loss. Feels like I’m walking on pillows, also.

Yeah, I got the walking on pillows thing… most of the day today. Lots of people on here have that as well as sound sensitivity at times. I get sensitive to sound when I’m already feeling a bit dizzy and trying to get somewhere or do something. It’s like my concentration is all used up with the dizzy stuff and sound just puts me over the edge. Ear plugs help a lot in those situations. I never really got it while chewing food, vibrations, walking, talking, etc. so that’s why I suggested Autophony.

I get it with walking, talking, listening, chewing. Hypersensitivity comes in a lot of stripes. It’s worst when I’m already having low threshold issues. Generally, it’s about giving my brain time to recover, but I’m also medicated.

Sound sensitivity is classic migraines. Vibrations are possibly throbbing migraine pressure. I get brain zaps where i forgot things and slur. You will morph out of this soon hopefully.

I think you can call it ‘migraine variant balance disorder’, ‘vestibular migraine’ or what the neuro-otologist called mine ‘probable migraine associated vertigo’ (i’ve never had a firm diagnosis either, 15 years in!). This condition comes in so many variations individual to individual I doubt they each have a name as such and the only consistent thing about MAV is it keeps morphing.

@flutters and @getbetter are both spot on I’d say

Having your ear wax removed or your previous slight incident maybe lower your tolerance threshold and your MAV/VM has returned.

All the symptoms are further examples of hypersensitivity and stem from the migraine. So sorry to hear it’s returned after so long.

I saw the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office earlier today and that was a big waste of time, she was so to totally clueless, said “maybe it’s from the humidity” and told me to go see the ENT. I can’t get in there until tomorrow afternoon, what a long wait this will be. Meanwhile I’m on valium and meclizine trying to keep my vestibular system calm. Everytime i talk it get split second jolts through my brain. Walking downstairs is so difficult, not because I feel like I will fall, but because the jarring of my foot hitting the step sends these jolts to my brain.

I wish there was a name for this, a real medical terminilogy so i don’t sound like loony bird trying to explain it to the doctor.

Don’t worry. I expect the doctor wil have heard loonier things from others before! If he/she comes up with an exact term, please let us know. It is all hypersensitivity. I can equate to the feeling the vibration of you feet on the stairs or any hard-ish surface going vibrating through your ears to your brain. I’ve experienced that.

Maybe this article will be useful:

Here’s another one:

Thank you, I’m sorry you’ve experienced this same discomforting system but at the same time am comforted to know that someone else knows what this feels like.

thank you for the articles, Yes, that describes the feeling, a little electrical jolt and I remember that feeling from when I went off lexapro years ago. Mine are a bit stronger than that now but it’s the same kind of thing. Something’s not firing right in my brain.

I had blips, usually when reclined in bed, but they were more like very short spells of vertigo.

“Vibrations” sounds like the “brain rumbles” I had, especially in mixed ligthing … so hard to translate peoples symptoms to your own …

‘Brain zaps’, ‘brain rumbles’. …then the difference between ‘vertigo’ and ‘dizziness’, we MAVers seem to get all the weirdest of symptoms. It’s no wonder the medics have trouble coming up with a definite diagnosis.

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I think the distinction is fairly clear cut no?

Dizziness is a fuzzy uncertainty about your point in space? (terrible definition but you get where i’m coming from?)

Vertigo is a feeling of falling or spinning sometimes combined with a severe anxiety?

In any case I’m pretty sure I’ve never confused the two

Or as Salman Rushdie put it:

"Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall. "

(OK I don’t think he ever had our kind of vertigo, but I like the quote!)

I actually had exactly what you are describing and went to a family friend who is an ENT. He did a test on me to check my tensor tympani muscle. He found that it had quit working so all sounds were coming in extremely loud. I know what you mean about walking on the ground and hear your heels. Every time our microwave would shut I would jump. I couldn’t handle everyday noises. I still have no idea why it quit working but he put me on a high dose of prednisone and by the 3rd day it started working again. There is a test where they play a loud beep in your ear and I almost jumped out of my chair. It was only on one side.

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Experienced MAVers wouldn’t hv much problem with ‘vertigo’ and ‘dizziness’, I was thinking more of newbies going to medics first time trying to get diagnosis. It’s not necessarily that obvious to them or their GPs. It’s then subtle differences may confuse. I always knew ‘vertigo’ being the room spinning around you, for brevity’s sake say like BPPV and ‘dizziness’ being a more vague, floaty sensation. A friend who once had labs explains it as ‘swaying like long grasses in the wind’. BUT when I was first, er, ‘dizzy’ 24/7 having experienced true rotary vertigo attacks lasting days which were then replaced by this new ‘dizzy’ sensation, then described the sensation to my GP as being dizzy (room steady, me appearing to move) and was prescribed SSRI for ‘anxiety’. It wasn’t until I saw the neuro-otologist many months later I found out I was wrong. I actually had constant 24/7 ‘vertigo’ because I was experiencing the feeling that I was rotating and that’s ‘vertigo’, not dizziness. For it to be true ‘vertigo’ it’s either environment or self appearing to rotate. Then the consultant said ‘migraine causes vertigo’ and suggested probable MAV. So, sometimes it pays to dig a little deeper it seems, where all GPs I’ve ever met so far seem to fail. Helen

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Let most people said we are not doctors, but you might be having seizures. I had an EEG done and to my surprise there were seizures detected. I had no outward symptoms. Just a thought. And I hope you feel better.

I get exactly that!!! It’s just awful and tbh i find it scary when it happens,my footsteps, crunching food make me dizzy!!
The docs have given me no real explaination to be honest.
Am sorry you get this too but I’m glad I’m not the only one x