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Hearing and Balance

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Balance

Hearing loss doesn’t only affect your ability to hear and comprehend speech. It can also be connected to a variety of other health concerns, such as balance issues or vertigo. Our sense of balance is located within the cochlea, which is the same location of the hearing nerve deep inside the inner ear. If you have hearing loss that was the result of a head or ear injury, then you could experience issues with your sense of balance.

In fact, people who have hearing loss often report having trouble with feelings of dizziness and even experience an increase in falls.

How Is Our Hearing Connected to Our Balance?

Our balance system relies on the labyrinth, a maze of bone and tissue in the inner ear. In the labyrinth is the cochlea, which is where the hearing nerve is located. Near the cochlea are semicircular canals and the otolithic organs which are responsible for our sense of balance. This is where our body, along with our sight and touch, senses movement.

If you have problems with your dizziness, or you experience vertigo, then your balance issues could be caused by hearing loss. Problems with the inner ear that can be responsible for hearing loss can also lead to balance problems, dizziness, and even vertigo. Our ears are responsible for more than just hearing. They hold the vestibular system, so when you have hearing loss you can experience balance problems as well.

Balance problems and hearing loss do not always go together. You can have hearing loss without ever experiencing a problem with your balance, or you could have vertigo without having hearing loss. It’s important if you have hearing loss that is the result of a head or ear injury to seek immediate attention, so you don’t have additional problems with balance or experience falls in the future.

What Can You Do?

Taking care of your hearing health means you will feel better overall. Our ears are connected to our bodies and overall health, so it’s important to practice good ear health and visit us regularly for annual hearing check-ups.

If you are experiencing hearing loss and problems with your balance then call us today to make an appointment. We can help you by finding the cause of your hearing loss and dizziness and offer you solutions to help you feel better.

Hearing and Balance

Hearing And Balance

Inner Ear Injuries, Balance, and Hearing Loss

Have you recently developed vertigo, experienced dizzy spells, or had trouble walking? These are all possible signs of a balance disorder, and they can indicate inner ear damage. If so, you could be at risk for hearing loss as well. Learn the signs and discover where to turn for treatment to keep hearing clearly and feeling your best.

Identifying Inner Ear Injuries

Your inner ear is a complex part of the auditory and vestibular systems, the hearing and balance centers of the body. In fact, the labyrinth structure within the inner ear is the last place external inputs like sound waves and motion changes travel before reaching the brain. If you have an inner ear injury, you likely have damage to the labyrinth that will impair your body’s ability to communicate those signals to the brain. You may experience hearing loss, balance problems, or both.

Symptoms

We can help you determine if you have inner ear damage. Whether your symptoms are hearing or balance-related, make an appointment if you experience the following:

Symptoms of Hearing Impairment

  • Muffled sound
  • Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
  • Trouble following conversations
  • Difficulty hearing at standard volume
  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Earache

Symptoms of Balance Disorders

  • Vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • Dizziness
  • Falling
  • Nausea
  • Trouble walking
  • Blurred vision

Common Causes of Inner Ear Damage

Inner ear damage can have many different causes in addition to head and ear injuries. These include exposure to loud sounds, illness, Ménière’s Disease, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV ), and more. Aging may also impair the performance of the inner ear.

Determining the cause of your hearing loss and balance issues is critical for your treatment plan. Only an experienced hearing provider or doctor can assess your condition and help resolve it, that’s why it’s important to come see us.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Though symptoms of inner ear damage may be clear, finding your specific diagnosis is essential. We will verify that you have signs of damage with:

  • Hearing exams
  • Blood tests
  • Brain imaging
  • Balance tests
  • Measurement of muscle movement

This will vary depending on your diagnosis. A viral infection will usually go away on its own. For some, physical therapy can resolve the internal problems causing vertigo. In severe cases, we may recommend surgery. If you have other underlying health conditions that could be responsible for balance and hearing problems, you may not require specialized treatment for your inner ear.

Other diagnoses may involve ongoing treatments. For balance disorders, there are medications and therapy to treat chronic symptoms of vertigo and dizziness. We will discuss your options with you and determine if you’ve experienced hearing loss as well. For many people with hearing loss, hearing aids provide a simple solution that greatly enhances quality of life. We can help find the right solution for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get started.

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