Everyone experiences feeling dizzy or losing their balance at some time or another. Luckily, most of us only feel it occasionally, for example when standing up too quickly. However, sometimes balance issues can become a regular problem.
Hearing and balance
Hearing and balance are closely linked. It’s common for people with hearing loss to suffer with a balance problem. In fact, as many as 30% of people suffering with hearing loss may also have balance issues. However, hearing loss doesn’t always cause problems with balance. It depends on the type of hearing loss someone has. You can also have balance problems without hearing loss. Something simple like poor blood circulation, an infection, or trauma can be enough to send your balance out of whack.
How does balance work?
Your inner ear, eyes, and musculoskeletal system all have to work together, so you can stand, walk and sit up straight without losing your balance or feeling dizzy. If something goes wrong with one of these three things, you can experience a problem with your balance.
How your inner ear keeps you balanced
Deep inside your inner ear there are two small balance organs: the saccule, and the utricle. These contain tiny gravity-sensitive crystals that move around, brushing against little hairs on the walls of the saccule and utricle. It’s these hairs being brushed that sends movement signals to your brain. Trauma or sudden movements can dislodge the crystals making you feel dizzy or nauseous. The official name for this condition is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Luckily, special exercises can get the crystals back in the right place.
Ear infections and balance
Inner ear infections caused by viruses or bacterial infections can make parts of your inner ear inflamed, affecting your hearing and balance. So long as you get the problem diagnosed and treated quickly, most inner ear infections won’t cause long-term damage.
Hearing aids and balance
As we rely on our ears for balance, using a hearing aid to help improve your hearing can also improve balance, if the issue is linked to hearing loss.
Getting back on your feet again
If you often find yourself feeling dizzy, whether you have hearing loss or not, our friendly staff at Physicians Hearing Care can help you to get back to normal again. Getting your ears checked can be the first step towards a happier and more balanced you.
Dr. Kalyn Bradford is the Director of Hearing Aid Services here at Physician’s Hearing Care. She completed her externship with Physician’s Hearing Care in 2013 and subsequently joined the practice in 2014 after graduating with her doctoral degree in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined PHC as a Clinical Audiologist where she performed comprehensive audiological exams and specialized in helping patients to hear better using the latest hearing aid technology available. She has carried that experience into her current role as Director of Hearing Aid Services, where she does an excellent job managing the Audiologists to ensure that all patients are treated with the best hearing care possible.