Craig in Gym.png

Hello

My name is Craig Davidson and I have been a member of L-W-O Community support group since December 2016.

A couple of weeks ago I posed this question in the support group.

Who has heard of Endolymph & Perilymph?

Craig's Story

“Generally, as far as I can remember there has been some form of ringing in my ear.  Since an allergic reaction to Penicillin back in 2017. I have had swelling under the chin the lymph nodes feel solid and since then the neck has got worse along with the discomfort in the ears, eyes, and head. I decided to go to one of the high street hearing test centres.  The audiologist looked at my ears with a camera and showed me that the ear itself was fine.  The audiologist was nice enough to explain to me the working of the inner ear and recalled that the fluids in our ears ended in ‘lymph’.  After a little bit of researching, I have found out that the lymphatic system serves a key role in our ears”.

Craig then added the following.  “This is purely my own thought but since they cannot explain what is going on, then it can only be down to the lymphatics.  My argument is we have three stages of lymphoedema, birth – adolescence – and 30ish plus. These symptoms started after 35 with a drug that I have never had an issue with before.”

 

Written by Craig Davidson

When I read Craig's question, I must admit I hadn't heard of Endolymph or Perilymph and although Craig had done quite a bit of research I was intrigued and followed up on his work.

While we know the lymphatic system is linked to every part of our anatomy this is an area not many of us would have heard of.  So, lets demystify and explain in simple terms what these are and what they do.

Please note this page is written purely from a patient perspective

Gaynor

Endolymph

The ears fall into the category of Blood Supply & Lymphatics.  Endolymph and Perilymph are types of cochlear fluids which are found in the inner ear. They are filled inside compartments of the cochlea, and both help the transmission of sound waves to the hair cells.  I am not even going to begin to describe all the technical stuff but simply going to suggest why certain things happen with our ears.

Who remembers as a child spinning around?  When you stop, you are left feeling dizzy and you are swaying all over the place you may even fall. 

 

Maybe you had one too many and you are swaying all over the place and the room appears to be spinning.  Why is this?

The brain thinks the head is still spinning even when you have stopped, the endolymph keeps moving which is why you still feel dizzy.  When the endolymph stops moving no signal is sent to the brain therefore the brain then must determine for itself that you have stopped moving.

When you begin to move the endolymph in the opposite direction the two effects of motion should cancel one another out.  Astronaut’s when they feel disorientation, that funny sensation when your car hits a dip in the road, being on a roller coaster at the funfair and scuba divers might experience dizziness or disorientation.

The above video is a stock library video used by me under licence from Canva..

Pronounced: per-i-lymph: this is the fluid between the membranous and bony labyrinths of the ear. Perilymph is found inside the cochlea of the ear, and it is this fluid that plays a role in your hearing and when the perilymph is disrupted this is when you will encounter hearing problems. This would be the time to ask for a referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

The cochlea is shaped like a snail shell and has two compartments the Scala tympani and the Scala vestibuli both are filled with perilymph.  When the cochlea receives vibrations, the perilymph moves stimulating the auditory hair cells inside your ear.  This vibration is translated into electrochemical impulses that travels to the brain that enables you to interpret the vibrations as sound.

For those of you who would like to read the scientific notes - read more ... 

Perilymph Fistula

So, what can go wrong? The ear can develop a perilymph fistula which is an abnormal opening this allows perilymph to drain from the inner ear to the middle ear resulting in dizziness, nausea, vomiting including ringing in the ear, problems with balance and vertigo.  A fistula may be caused by trauma or may be an indication there is an underlying problem so please speak to your GP.

Perilymph Fistula Symptoms and Treatment | Specsavers UK

Diagrams showing both Endolymph & Perilymph

Endolymph & Perilymph
Ear Lymphatics

Do take good care of your ears and remember they need a break too from ...

  • Loud music whether at a concert or in the privacy of your own home

  • From the TV, radio, or other music devices

  • Working with noisy tools or background noises

  • Wear earmuffs when you can

  • Do not use cotton buds

  • Speak to your Pharmacist about solutions to remove earwax