What Is The Link Between Balance And Hearing Loss
Dr. Meryl Miller, Au.D., Director of Clinical Audiology at the Ear, Nose & Throat Institute says, Your hearing health is an important part of your overall health. One of the many ways your hearing health affects your overall health is balance. According to a study out of Johns Hopkins, individuals aged 40-69 that had a mild hearing loss were three times as likely to report falling in the past year. And, that risk increased with poorer hearing.
Not only are audiologists saying it, but physical therapists too. Jose Crespo, PT, from ENTI agrees by saying, What we are now realizing however is that hearing loss is also a major factor when it comes to your balance and control. It is to no surprise that we are now beginning to see this relationship because what we see on a daily basis in the physical therapy clinic is that our body relies on every sensation available to assist in their movement control and that includes your hearing!
Recommended Reading: Sign Language For Hungry
What Is Central Dizziness
The feeling of dizziness does not have to be connected with an inner ear condition at all either. Central dizziness, which results from a lack of coordination between the brain and the three parts of the balance system, can occur in response to a migraine, infection, tumor, or a degenerative disease such as multiple sclerosis.
Visual dizziness can occur if the muscles in the eyes are not balanced too. The condition is also brought on by an inability to focus, intermittent blurred vision or a difficulty in reading. In very rare instances, dizziness can be brought on by muscular or joint conditions too. Conditions that are related to general health issues also cause dizziness. These health problems might include a vitamin deficiency, thyroid deficiency or diabetes.
What Exactly Is A Balance Disorder
A balance disorder is a condition that leads to feelings of dizziness or unsteadiness. A person suffering from balance issues may feel as if they are spinning or floating, even while sitting down. During movement, people affected by these disorders might experience shifts like a sailor stuck on the stormy seas. In addition to moving difficulties, people with chronic balance issues often experience:
- Intense vertigo
- Blurred Vision
- Disorientation or confusion
Doctors estimate 50 percent of US adults will face balance issues in their lifetimes. While these problems become more common with age, theyre certainly not limited to retirement homes. Dizziness, vertigo, and associated complications can strike at any age.
You May Like: How To Turn On Hearing Aid Mode On Iphone
Can This Permanent Damage Be Avoided
Its essential to see a doctor when you think you might have an ear infection. The sooner you get treatment, the better. If you get chronic ear infections, you shouldnt neglect them. More damage will be caused by more serious infections. Ear infections typically start with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take steps to prevent them. If you smoke, now is the right time to stop, too, because smoking multiplies your risk of getting chronic respiratory issues.
If youve had an ear infection and still are having difficulties hearing, see your doctor. It could be possible that you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that can cause conductive hearing loss. If it turns out its permanent, hearing aids can help you hear again. You can schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to get more info on hearing aids.
About Middle Ear Infections
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear that causes inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.
Anyone can develop a middle ear infection but infants between six and 15 months old are most commonly affected.
It’s estimated that around one in every four children experience at least one middle ear infection by the time they’re 10 years old.
Read Also: How To Connect Phonak Hearing Aids To Iphone
When To Seek Medical Advice
Most cases of otitis media pass within a few days, so there’s usually no need to see your GP.
However, see your GP if you or your child have:
- symptoms showing no sign of improvement after two or three days
- a lot of pain
- a discharge of pus or fluid from the ear some people develop a persistent and painless ear discharge that lasts for many months, known as chronic suppurative otitis media
- an underlying health condition, such as cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease, which could make complications more likely
Read more about diagnosing middle ear infections
Common Signs And Symptoms Of An Outerear Infection Include:
- Ear pain
Ear infections can lead to pain and swelling in the ear canal, which can prevent a hearing aid from fitting comfortably. The infection can also affect the quality of hearing, making certain types of hearing aids uncomfortable to wear. This can last for several days and sometimes even weeks.
Don’t Miss: How To Clean Cane Corso Ears
What Can Cause Chronic Ear Infections
There are multiple causes for recurring ear infections, or recurring otitis media, ranging from allergies, sinusitis, ear injuries, and bacterial infections from colds or flu.
This medical condition can result in a ruptured eardrum, hearing loss, balance function, or in protracted cases, facial inflammation or paralysis. Getting medical help quickly is necessary to maintain good hearing healthespecially for young children, as the ability to hear is necessary for learning language.
Chronic Ear Infection, Defined
Otitis media affects the space behind the eardrum and is diagnosed as chronic when an ear infection does not heal or if it is recurring. The acute version tends to come on quickly and is of shorter duration but symptoms may be more severe. The Eustachian tube, which drains fluids away from the middle ear, may become plugged due to a viral or bacterial infection, allowing a buildup of fluid to press against the eardrum. Otitis externa, or swimmers ear, affects swimmers when contaminated water enters the ear, allowing the growth of bacteria and infection in the outer ear.
Young children and infants are more likely to develop ear infections due to the Eustachian tubes’ being smaller and more horizontal than those of adults, making it harder for fluid to drain away. Adults are more likely to get infections from swimming, injuries , or following upper respiratory illnesses.
How Long Will Hearing Loss From An Ear Infection Last
Usually, the hearing loss that develops from a middle ear infection is temporary. Once the fluid drains out of the middle ear, it no longer inhibits the transmission of sound vibrations.
But the fluid can linger for some time. While the symptoms of a typical case of otitis media will usually begin to resolve within about 48 to 72 hours, the fluid thats built up in the middle ear may linger for as long as 3 months. You may have trouble hearing clearly while the fluid remains trapped.
Ear Infections And Hearing Loss
What is an ear infection? An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear or the space behind the eardrum and the earâs bones. Inflammation and fluid buildup behind the eardrum causes pressure and pain for the person. Usually the infection is caused by a cold or flu or allergies causing congestion and inflammation of the throat, Eustachian tubes and nasal passages in some cases, a person may have a chronic ear infection which can then lead to hearing loss. Hearing loss usually occurs with ear infections, though most of the time they are temporary due to the inflammation and fluid buildup in the ear however, chronic ear infections can cause permanent hearing damage.
Acute otitis media is an ear infection that is short lived and causes by a cold or flu or allergies. There is a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum and some inflammation. The ear aches and a fever is sometimes present, but will go away.
If the ear infection lasts more than a couple weeks or keeps reoccurring, it is called chronic otitis media, meaning there are more underlying issues that need to be looked at by a doctor and/or hearing professional as permanent hearing loss could occur.
If the fluid behind the eardrum is not draining properly, a tympanostomy tube may be placed in the eardrumto help with drainage to decrease the risk of infection, perforation of the eardrum and hearing loss.
There Are Several Types Of Hearing Aid Styles
Use the following steps to clean your specific style hearing aid:
· How to clean an in-the-ear hearing aid:
1. Use asoft brush to clear away wax built up in or around the openings of the hearingaid.
2. Use a wax pick or hook to clear any wax or debris from the openings that did not come out with the brush.
3. Wipe offthe entire hearing aid with a clean, dry cloth in order to remove any debrisfrom the case of the hearing aid.
4. Replace wax guards , as needed.
How to clean a behind-the-ear hearing aid and earmold:
1. Removedebris or wax with a soft brush or a clean, dry cloth.
2. Use a waxpick or hook to clear any wax or debris from the openings in the earmold.
3. You canremove the earmold from the hook to clean it. You can wipe the earmold with asoft cloth or soak it in warm, soapy water. NOTE: Only soak the EARMOLD inwater. DO NOT submerge the hearing aid in water. Allow the earmold to drycompletely before reattaching it to the hearing aid.
How to clean a receiver-in-the-canal hearing aid:
1. Removedebris or wax from the soft plastic dome with a soft brush or a clean, drycloth.
2. Use a waxpick to clear any wax or debris from the dome.
3. Replacewax guards, as needed.
· Keep your hearing aids in a safe, dry place. DO NOTstore them in your bathroom, since heat and humidity may cause damage to thehearing aid.
· If you are not sure how to properly clean or carefor your hearing aids, seek advice from your hearing care professional.
Read Also: American Sign Language Hungry
How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After Infection
Hearing loss caused by an ear infection is usually temporary and goes away on its own after a few days. If symptoms persist for more than a week, then its important to see a doctor or audiologist who can provide further treatment. Antibiotics can clear up the infection, or if you have a history of recurrent ear infections, the fluid build-up within the ear can be drained.
If you have noticed a recent change in your hearing, then its best to have your symptoms checked. Take our free online hearing test to check how good your hearing is or contact your nearest Specsavers store to speak to an audiologist.
1. Monasta L, Ronfani L, Marchetti F, et al. Burden of disease caused by otitis media: systematic review and global estimates. PLoS One. 2012 7:e36226. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036226
2. Nielsen MC, Friis M, Martin-Bertelsen T, Winther O, Friis-Hansen L, Cayé-Thomasen P. The middle ear immune defense changes with age. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 273:81-86. doi:10.1007/s00405-015-3493-0
3. Mazlan R, Saim L, Thomas A, Said R, Liyab B. Ear infection and hearing loss amongst headphone users. Malays J Med Sci. 2002 9:17-22.
4. Okuyama Y, Baba A, Ojiri H, Nakajima T. Surfer’s ear. Clin Case Rep. 2017 5:1028-1029. Published 2017 Apr 4. doi:10.1002/ccr3.929
Childhood Infections Can Cause Hearing Loss Later In Life
Hearing loss in elderly people is often perceived as a natural effect of getting older, but a study from Newcastle University shows that infections in early childhood can cause hearing loss.
The study shows that people who have suffered from childhood infections are more likely to develop hearing loss in their 60s.
Infections like tonsillitis, infections of the ear like otitis media and multiple episodes of bronchitis proved to have an impact on hearing after the age of 60.
Also Check: How To Turn On Hearing Aid Mode On Iphone
Vertigo And Tinnitus: Can Tinnitus Cause Vertigo
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is related to problems with the inner ears vestibular system, just like hearing loss and balance issues. The buzzing, whistling or hissing sound that accompanies tinnitus is an indicator that something isnt right within the auditory system.
Similar to vertigo, tinnitus is a sensation and symptom of another disease or issueits not a disease in and of itself. People with tinnitus often have some form of hearing loss as well, but there isnt evidence that tinnitus causes vertigo .
What Are The Symptoms
There is no classic set of symptoms, and each person experiences a vestibular disorder differently. However, some commonly reported symptoms include:
- Feeling faint, light-headed, or unsteady.
- A sense of movement when there is none, characterized by feeling like either you or the room is spinning.
- Imbalance or loss of equilibrium, often accompanied by spatial disorientation.
- Spatial disorientation. Inability to determine the bodys position in space, characterized by the need to touch or hold on to something when standing or walking, the need to look down to confirm where the ground is, or difficulty walking in the dark.
- Hearing problems. Hearing loss, sound sensitivity, or tinnitus sounds in the ears or head.
- Vision problems. Difficulty tracking objects words on a page, for example discomfort in busy environments such as traffic, grocery stores, or walls with patterns or sensitivity to lights, especially fluorescent ones.
- Cognitive issues. Trouble concentrating, short-term memory lapses, inability to understand instructions, or an easily fatigued mind.
Recommended Reading: How To Turn On Hearing Aid Mode On Iphone
Menieres Disease And Endolymphatic Hydrops
Menieres disease is a common cause of repeated attacks of dizziness and is thought to be due to increased pressure of the inner ear fluids due to impaired metabolism of the inner ear. Fluids in the inner ear chamber are constantly being produced and absorbed by the circulatory system. Any disturbance of this delicate relationship results in overproduction or underabsorption of the fluid. This leads to an increase in the fluid pressure that may, in turn, produce dizziness that may or may not be associated with fluctuating hearing loss and tinnitus.
A thorough evaluation is necessary to determine the cause of Menieres disease, if possible. Circulatory, metabolic, toxic and allergic factors may play a part in any individual. Emotional stress, while making the disease worse, does not cause Menieres diseaseMenieres disease is usually characterized by attacks consisting of vertigo that varies in duration from a few minutes to several hours. Hearing loss and head noise, usually accompanying the attacks, may occur suddenly. Violent spinning, whirling, and falling associated with nausea and vomiting are common symptoms. Sensations of pressure and fullness in the ear or head are usually present during the attacks. The individual may be very tired for several hours after the overt spinning stops.
Dont Miss: What Is Poop In Sign Language
What Can You Do To Counter This Permanent Hearing Loss
Its important to see a doctor if you think you may have an ear infection. You shouldnt wait if you want to preserve your hearing. Always get chronic ear infection examined by a doctor. More damage is caused by more serious infections. Ear infections normally begin with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take measures to prevent them. If you smoke, now is the time to quit, too, because smoking multiplies your risk of having chronic respiratory troubles.
If you are still having trouble hearing after having an ear infection, consult a doctor. It is possible you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that can cause conductive hearing loss. Hearing aids can be very helpful if you have permanent hearing loss. To get more information about hearing aids, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.
Recommended Reading: Are You Hungry In Sign Language
What Is An Ear Infection
A common type of ear infection,sometimes called otitis media, occurs in the middle ear . Amiddle ear infection is caused by fluid trapped behind the eardrum and oftenoriginates from colds, flus, or allergies. Upper respiratory issues, such assinus or throat infections, can also lead to middle ear infections.
This can cause congestion andswelling of the nasal passages, throat, and esutachian tubes. The eustachiantubes connect the middle ear to the back of the throat and nasal passage. Itsrole is to regulate air pressure in the middle ear. An infection can cause theeustachian tubes to become irritated and swell, which can prevent them fromdraining properly. When fluid inside the eustachian tubes cannot drain, itbuilds up in the middle ear and can become infected .
How Can Chronic Ear Infection In Children Be Treated
If your child suffers from persistent ear infections then you should see an ENT specialist to find out if theres a reason why it keeps happening. The doctor can check for an infection or a blockage in the eustachian tubes that is causing chronic otitis media. Antibiotics can help if there is a persistent bacterial infections, but other treatments such as grommets might be needed if your child has a chronic problem. Grommets can be inserted into the ear drum to provide another drainage route for the middle ear if the eustachian tubes arent working properly. Freeing your child from persistent ear infections can have a huge impact on their health and wellbeing.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Ear Infection During Pregnancy
How Long Does Hearing Loss Last In Adults
There are two main types of auditory loss, conductive impairment and sensorineural auditory loss. Conductive loss is often temporary. When the blockage is treated, the impairment usually goes away. Ear infections are typically easily treated with antibiotics. Recurrent ear infections may need further treatment. A doctor can insert a tube in the eardrum to keep the fluid from building up, known as a Eustachian tube. If your hearing doesnt get back to normal after treatment, you should discuss this with your doctor and an auditory professional.
Ear infections can also cause pressure to build up in the ear, which can cause the eardrum to rupture. Left untreated, this can cause damage to the eardrum which can reduce acuity. The tympanic membrane, which is another part of the ear that vibrates in response to sound, can also be scarred from chronic, recurrent ear infections. This, too, can affect hearing.
The second type of loss, sensorineural, occurs when there is damage to the auditory nerve or inner ear. The most common cause of this type of impairment is age-related, known as presbycusis. Sensorineural loss that is age-related is generally permanent, but the impairment can be mitigated with devices. When sensorineural loss occurs suddenly, within three days or less, a medical provider should be contacted immediately.