Balance and Vestibular Program
Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence (SSCD)
Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence (SSCD) is a recently discovered disorder. SSCD occurs when one of the balance organs of the inner ear, the superior semicircular canal, develops an abnormal communication with the inside of the child's skull.
While the classic symptom of SSCD is dizziness/vertigo in response to loud noises or pressure changes in the middle ear, other, more unusual symptoms may include:
- changes in hearing
- a heightened ability to hear one’s own bodily movements (such as footsteps, eye movements, and brushing hair)
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches SSCD
SSCD is diagnosed with a special type of imaging study called a Computed Tomography (CT) scan.
- The diagnosis of SSCD also usually requires a special kind of test called a vestibular evoked myogenic potential test (VEMP), in which a sticky pad is placed on the child’s neck and sounds are played through an earphone in his ears. The sticky pad is connected to a computer that detects small movements of the neck muscles in response to the sounds.
A hearing test is also part of the evaluation for SSCD.
- Often, a series of other balance tests may also be required to rule out other causes of dizziness.
All of the balance tests, as well as the VEMP test and the hearing test, can be done right here in our Balance Program.
While SSCD in adults is usually managed surgically, it is treated much more conservatively in children:
- The hearing loss from SSCD in children can be effectively managed with specially-programmed hearing aids.
- The dizziness from SSCD is usually fairly well tolerated, and may improve naturally over time.
- If it does not, then surgery may be necessary. Surgery may be done through the ear canal or through an incision behind the ear.