Why Do Balance Disorders Accompany Hearing Loss?

woman smiling at her professional hearing examination

Hearing loss is one of those conditions that can be profoundly affected by a range of other conditions, and which can in turn affect those. This back-and-forth nature means that hearing loss can come hand-in-hand with a huge number of issues. One of the most common of these is balance troubles. As it happens, balance disorders do tend to accompany hearing loss quite often. In this post, we’ll look at why this is, and discuss some of the other related things you might want to know about it, especially if it is affecting you.

The Ear’s Role in Balance

You might already know that the ears are an important instrument when it comes to your physical balance. In fact, without ears you would likely struggle to balance at all. But not many people fully comprehend the relationship between the ears and balance, and doing so might prove really important if you want to be able to understand your own ear health and balance as well as possible.

It’s actually all about the inner ear, specifically. Here, loop-shaped canals contain fluid and a lot of very fine hairlike sensors. These are what help you to keep your balance – whether you are walking around, standing or sitting. There are cells in this part of the inner ear which help you to know the position of the head – so if the head is straight, you know that you are probably balanced.

Of course, all of this happens unconsciously, but it is a vital process that the body has and one that can be worrying when it is not there.

The link between balance and hearing loss

You can probably already start to appreciate from this just how hearing loss and balance might be linked, but let’s look at it a little deeper so we can get to the bottom of it a little more easily and comprehensively. In fact, the link is a very strong one: for every 10dBs’ worth of hearing loss, there is an increase in your chances of falling. This has been shown again and again in studies, and by this point it is a very well-known connection. So that is the major way and reason that there is a link between balance and hearing loss.

However, there is another main link between balance and hearing loss, and it ties in with what we mentioned above about the existence of balance disorders.

Meniere’s disease: what is it?

One of the main balance disorders that you may have heard of is something known as Meniere’s disease. This is actually a disorder of the inner ear itself, characterised by a sense of severe dizziness or vertigo, which includes a feeling of losing one’s balance. At the same time, you might also experience tinnitus, otherwise known as a ringing in the ears, as well as a feeling of congestion in the ear, particularly in the inner ear. Most of the time, this disease only affects one ear.

If you think you might have Meniere’s disease, the solution is simply to go and get checked out – either by a doctor, or by your hearing instrument specialist (HIS) if you have already seen the doctor about it and they have referred you.

Treating balance disorders and hearing loss

In general, if you have a balance disorder like Meniere’s disease, and you also have hearing loss, both of these are going to need to be dealt with as soon as possible. Otherwise, if not, then they might get worse over time, and that could lead to both worse balance as well as more pronounced hearing loss. Of course, the good news is that it is perfectly possible to treat both balance disorders and hearing loss.

The solution is to go to your HIS and see about having hearing aids installed. Your HIS will be able to help you to figure out the best solution, and they will know exactly what kind of hearing aid is likely to be best for your situation. During the meeting with them, they will also show you how to wear your hearing aids, discuss how to look after them properly, and more. As such, this is a really useful thing to do if you have balance disorders and hearing loss.

To find out more about all of this and seek treatment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Hearing Well Matters by calling (647) 247-2704 today. We are happy to answer any questions you might have regarding your hearing health.