Author Topic: fear of heights  (Read 4665 times)


  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 27
fear of heights
« on: April 19, 2015, 04:21:45 pm »
I would like to know if anyone has developed a fear of heights, including driving over high bridges, post AN surgery. I have not had this issue prior to my surgery. Now I get panicky when up high; I cannot even look out an airplane window without feeling panicked. Thanks for your response.
tinnitus, mild hearing loss, occasional light-headiness, rare imbalance. Diagnosed on 07/09; 14x9x8mm intra and extra canalicular of left ear. Repeat MRI on 1/15/10...waiting for radiologist to read, but on quick review little growth shown.


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 239
Re: fear of heights
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 12:38:10 pm »
Hello, turbomom.  I suffered from fear of heights, or acrophobia, for years, long before I was diagnosed with an AN.  I am obviously not a doctor, but I wonder if the occasional lightheadedness and balance issues you say you have are triggering some kind of physiological response in you.  It is also perfectly natural to get really stressed out over an AN  diagnosis and treatment; maybe any stress you were feeling  about the  whole experience is finding its expression in these panic bouts?  I would definitely talk to a doctor about your symptoms so you can get some relief.   I don't go out of my way to visit high places, but I also no longer have to go out of my way to avoid them.  Good luck to you!!!


Ruthie Mac

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 44
Re: fear of heights
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 09:18:23 pm »
Hi Lisa,
There's a doctor in NY who believes that phobias could be a DIRECT result of inner ear damage. I read his book long before I was diagnosed with an AN and now it makes me wonder if some of my anxiety issues might have been caused by the AN all along. The book is called Phobia Free by Harold N. Levinson.
He still has a practice in NY - I've been tempted to see him, but my insurance doesn't cover it, and my anxiety is manageable now - but check it out - very interesting book and theory.
4/1/2013  1 cm x 1.6 cm left ear
11/1/2013 SRS Varian Trilogy UMass Medical (4 sessions)
hearing is still good, slight tinnitus, working on balance issues


  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 404
Re: fear of heights
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2015, 04:57:23 pm »
Hi Lisa,

I have also suffered from a fear of heights, for many years prior to having my AN diagnosed.  I do not get a panicked sensation so much as I freeze and have a fear of moving if I'm outside.  I don't like to walk near anything with a steep drop. I did try once many years ago to climb a fire tower up north.  The tower had those metal open stairs and I could only get up the to second landing - even holding a railing and knowing I was safe I just couldn't do it. It felt like I had absolutely no balance. 
I don't like driving over high bridges either.  I'm always glad to get to the other side and on solid ground. 

It does make me wonder if there was something going on with my balance system back then.  I also wonder about motion sickness.  I suffered seriously from that when I was young and did not notice an improvement until I was able to do the driving. 

Thanks for raising the question, it's an interesting one!
Diagnosed: June 2012, right side AN 1.8cm
June 2013: AN has grown to 2.4 cm.
Gamma Knife: Sept. 11, 2013 Toronto Western Hospital


  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: fear of heights
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 04:14:55 pm »

I can definitely say I have developed a fear of heights since my surgery, and I have a theory as to why. Heights make me dizzy, because with 1 less set of vestibular canals to work with my vision is much more important for my balance. If I am standing in a room in my house, and I move my head to the left one inch, I can see my surroundings move accordingly. However, if I were standing on top of a 100 foot cliff looking out over the edge, when I move my head slightly I won't be able to detect any difference in my surroundings. I get the same effect if I look up into the sky or if it is completely dark.

So for me, having less of a close visual reference really messes with my ability to balance and therefore I like to keep my feet firmly planted on solid ground. Maybe this could explain why heights bother you more now too.

3.8 cm left side AN diagnosed June 2013

Drs. Thedinger and Milligan at St. Lukes Neurosurgery (Kansas City)

Translab July 2013
Translab round 2 March 2014


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: fear of heights
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2015, 11:39:56 am »
Hi Lisa,

I didn't have a fear of heights before AN, but am more cautious now because of balance issues that have surfaced post-GK.   Not sure if I'm getting better or if I'm just getting used to it.
8/2/13 - diagnosed 1.9 CM right side; 1/13/14 - MRI it got bigger!; 2/10/14 - GK; 8/18/14 - shrinking; 8/17/15 - still shrinking, reduced symptoms


  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: fear of heights
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2015, 07:18:10 pm »
Hi Lisa,
Yes, I can't drive over bridges and have trouble on highways, especially at night.  It has gotten worse in the past two years and I know that's it's because of the problem with dizziness from my AN - it's like a mild vertigo.  It's not becauses of anxiety and although some people may call it a fear of heights, it's actually because the physical affect of the AN.  If you google acoustic neuroma, vertigo, and driving, you'll see that it's not that unusual. 
5-12-12 Diagnosed AN 8x4x4mm (tinnitus, dizziness)
12-14-12 MRI 11x6x5 mm
2-15-13 GK (New York)
6-13-14 MRI 11x6x6 mm