Hearing Aids To The Rescue
Ask any expert that handles hearing aids, and they can tell you about all the negative effects that hearing loss can have in terms of balance. Some of the most noted are social isolation, cognitive decline, and auditory system shrinkage. Hearing loss that is left untreated can be the start of many unhealthy conditions. As youve learned, it can even increase your risk of being involved in a fall.
When a person first realizes that theyre experiencing hearing loss, they should seek professional audiological help. A hearing care specialist can evaluate a persons hearing loss and recommend the proper hearing aids to fit their needs. The sooner the patient can use their hearing aids, the lower the risk of developing the unhealthy conditions above.
What Are Balance Disorders
Balance disorders are any condition that leads to a loss of balance or sense of vertigo/dizziness. These might be caused by simple things such as ear infections or low blood pressure, or a more serious issue like tumors or improper blood circulation. Regardless of what causes a balance disorder, it can lead to serious problems. A person with balance problems might feel like theyre tipping over, spinning, or floating, even when theyre standing still. Some people with balance disorders report experiencing vertigo when they turn their head, especially when getting out of bed or rolling over. They might stumble from time to time, hold walls to center themselves, or find themselves dragged to the ground. The severity of balance disorders can vary from person to person, and the cause of your balance problems can determine how bad they will be.Common causes of balance disorders are:
Hearing Aids Can Improve Your Sense Of Balance
We already know that hearing loss could put you on the path to dementia, depression, stress and anxiety. But did you know it could also make you less stable on your feet? There has been research that has come out recently about the benefits of hearing aids and the perils of untreated hearing loss which have focused on the subject of balance. The takeaway is this: you may want to begin wearing hearing aids;if you suffer from a hearing loss and have found;that your balance has been poor recently. ;
How we maintain balance
We are able to balance ourselves through a team effort involving the inner ear, eyes, muscles, joints and the brain. These are locked in a persistent back-and-forth of position detection, feedback and changes to our movement. The inner ear is a key part of this system of balance. While one section of the internal ear helps you hear,;another section, called the vestibular system,;sends;data about what position the head is in to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement. The vestibular system has two sections which both help us stay balanced:
Hearing aids help balance
House of Hearing
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Stay Healthy And Alert
Did you know that hearing loss has been linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s? When you can’t hear properly, your brain has to put in a lot of effort to try and hear things, which can be exhausting. The loss of everyday noises may also have an effect on your brain, although it’s not exactly clear why. Using hearing aids helps to make you happier and healthier. You can be more alert and get more enjoyment from the everyday noises around you. Your brain will be more active and engaged, and not wasting so much energy on trying to hear. You can also stay healthy by being more active. If you can’t hear well, you might feel less confident when it comes to being active or even leaving the house. Improved hearing can help you to get your confidence back.
See an audiologist for a hearing test if you think you might need hearing aids. They can test your hearing and help you choose the right hearing aids if you need them.
What Causes Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of risk factors. These most commonly include natural aging , exposure to loud sounds which includes both recreational and occupational noise , head trauma, genetics, medications, and many types of viruses and illnesses.18 There are three types of hearing loss. The first of these is called conductive hearing loss, wherein sound doesnt properly reach the hearing organ in the inner ear called the cochlea. The second type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss, which is damage to the inner ear system itself. The third type of hearing loss is mixed hearing loss, which is simply a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Whereas conductive hearing losses can often be treated by a medical professional, most types of sensorineural hearing loss are permanent. To date, the primary treatment for chronic hearing loss is hearing aids.
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How Do We Balance Ourselves
Our balance system relies on the labyrinth, a maze of bone and tissue located in the inner ear. It holds the semicircular canals, the otolithic organs, and the cochlea. While the cochlea is used for hearing, the canals are used for balance. These look like three circular loops, and each is responsible for sensing a different type of movement. One senses up/down, another senses side-to-side, and the last senses tilt. When the fluid within these tubes move, the hair cells sense the movement and transmit it to our brain. This allows us to understand how we are moving through space. Our balance system is so sensitive that it even tells us when we are moving within a vehicle or elevator.Problems with the inner ear can lead to balance problems, dizziness, vertigo, and even nausea. We might feel that we are moving when were not, struggle to stay upright or get motion sickness from standing still. These are all serious issues that can impact our ability to move around and sit up. People with severe vertigo might even feel sick while laying down.Quite a few things can lead to balance problems, but its a lesser-known fact that hearing loss can cause balance disorders. Our ears are involved in more than just hearing, and the presence of the semicircular canals in our ears can lead to balance problems in people suffering from hearing loss.
Hearing Aids And Balance
âOur ear is an important organ in our bodyânot only does it process the sound we hear through the cochlea , but it also houses our vestibular system, which is responsible for helping our bodies maintain its balance,â Rhee Nesson, AuD, founder of Hearing Doctors of New Jersey, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
âWhen any part of our ear is compromised, for example, due to hearing loss, it can lead to balance disorders,â Nesson adds.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, even a mild degree of hearing loss can increase your risk of an accidental fall by nearly three times. And this risk may rise by 140% with every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association also notes that there are three theories that may explain why hearing loss affects balance:
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Causes For Balance Disorders
The cooperation of multiple organs result in balance control and the ears play an active part in this system. Thus, problems with the inner ear along with other causes may contribute to a balance disorder. The most common include:
- ear infections,
- blood circulation problems in the inner ear,
- head injury,
Sound Therapy & Background Noise Blending
How can hearing aids be a solution to help with tinnitus?
The best way to overcome tinnitus is to shrink the ratio between the sounds you donât want to hear, and the sounds you do want to hear.
To use an analogy: a brilliant star set against a dark background shines brightest. It is impossible to ignore. But the same star dropped into the light of a noon sky is quickly lost; it disappears into the glare.
This analogy is the core principle of sound therapy, a common element of tinnitus treatment. Effectively, by providing sounds tailored for tinnitus, the ringing in your ears can be âwashedâ away.
When embraced long-term, sound therapy teaches your brain to reclassify what it hears.
Thus tinnitus, which once held center stage, is then pushed out into the audience where it disappears; as an unimportant, unnoticed sound in the background.
Once you understand your available options and decide what course is best for you, you and your loved ones â together with your hearing care professional â can begin treating your tinnitus.
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Hearing Aids Improve Balance
Wearing hearing aids can improve your balance and prevent falls. When you wear hearing aids that are programmed to match your unique hearing needs, youll be more aware of all the sounds around you. You can pinpoint sounds in your environment, and youll hear people or objects as they get closer.
Hearing aids also reduce your cognitive load. When you wear hearing aids, you will hear most of the sounds around you. When you have a clear auditory picture of your environment, you wont use so much energy straining to hear. This prevents cognitive overload, and reduces your risk of a fall.;
Can A Hearing Aid Help With Dizziness
There are numerous benefits to wearing hearing aids besides restored hearing. These devices can help improve cognitive functions and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Plus, if you have hearing loss and suffer from frequent dizziness, wearing hearing aids can help you manage both conditions.
More specifically, hearing aids can help improve your balance and relieve dizziness by increasing your awareness of your surroundings. This is particularly beneficial if you also have problems with your eyesight, which makes it harder to assess your environment.
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How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost
Hearing aids are typically not covered by Medicare or commercial insurance and pricing varies according to the manufacturer, vendor, and service arrangements. According to Kirkwood , in 2004, the average price of a hearing aid was $1776. These prices are taken from an article on management of hearing loss by Bogardus et al, 2003.
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Sound Feeds Balance Cues
The human body is a very complex system, which is why medical professionals are making new correlations every day. Most recently, the correlation between hearing and balance was proven realistic. While the extent of their dependence on one another isnt fully known, an obvious assumption can be made. It seems that the sounds in the environment around us provide distinctive cues on how to stay balanced.
Its easy to see how obvious scenarios, like a person or object falling near us, can alert us to stop and prevent a fall. However, the balance tests that were performed didnt have any of these apparent scenarios played out. They simply required the participant to maintain their balance. This makes it clear that there are more discreet ways that hearing helps us to maintain balance. Well just have to keep studying more to find out exactly why.
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Hearing Aids And Better Balance
The beauty of hearing aids is that they amplify the specific sounds you struggle with. This means that you will be able to be more alert and aware in your environment. You will also spend less time trying to decipher what people are saying which will allow more time devoted to focusing on balance. If you are interested in trying hearing aids, the first step is to schedule a hearing test with us. We can identify your hearing issue and find the best solution for your hearing and balance needs.
How Your Hearing Affects Your Balance
Ear problems cause more problems than just a loss of hearing. They can also affect your ability to walk, stand, and keep your balance. Here’s some information on balance disorders, and how your ears play a part.
Your ears dont just help you hear. In fact, they work together with other systems in your body to help you understand your place in space. If you have a steady sense of balance, you might not have a problem understanding where you are, how to stay upright, and how to keep yourself from falling. However, your eyes and brain arent the only organs involved in this process.Many of those that have trouble with their balance find that the problem lies in their ears. Ear balance disorders can make you feel unsteady, wobbly, or constantly moving. These sensations of vertigo can seriously impact your ability to walk, stand upright, and even sit up. Before we touch on balance disorders and how theyre treated, its important to understand the ears role in balance.
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How Hearing Aids Affects Your Balance
A hearing loss is more than just a loss of hearing. Hearing loss has been linked with increased cases of dementia, anxiety, and depression. It has also been linked with increased fall risk and other balancing difficulties. Research conducted in 2012, at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that individuals with a mild hearing loss may be up to three times more likely to have a history of falling. How is this possible? Your ears do more than just help you hear and make sense of sounds in your environment, they are also responsible for helping you maintain adequate balance when walking, or simply standing. The inner ear plays an important role in your vestibular system which is responsible for balance and helping your body understand its place in space.
Selection Of Studies And Data Extraction
Two authors independently screened all titles and relevant abstracts from the search strategy and evaluated the full texts of relevant articles against the inclusion criteria . Any disagreement between the assessors on the suitability of articles for inclusion was settled through consensus, and persistent disagreement referred to the senior author .
Flow chart of study inclusion process.
Data from included studies were extracted using a standardized pro forma. Data extracted at the study level included author, year of publication, article language, and number of cases. Data extracted at the patient level included sample size, demographics, diagnosis, measurements , and outcome measures.
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How Does Our Balance System Work
What you see, hear, and feel plays an important role in your balance. The inner ear is the most important part of your ear and is responsible for keeping you upright and balanced. The inner ear consists of three loops called the semi-circular canals, otolithic organs, and your cochlea. The semi-circular canals are responsible for registering side-to-side movements, up-and-down movements, or tilting movements of your head. Your semi-circular canals contain hair cells and fluid. When we move our bodies or head, this fluid moves as well sending signals to your brain through the acoustic nerve. Your brain uses this information to sense where you are in space and allows your body to respond to sudden changes in your environment.
Your inner ear is also responsible for helping your brain sense where your head is when youre not moving. All the sensory information and postural information helps your brain register when youre moving straight forward, like when youre driving a car, or when youre moving up and down, like an escalator or elevator. A compromised inner ear may cause balance issues and some research has been suggestive of improvement in balance when using a hearing aid.
Can Hearing Aids Cause Vertigo
Vertigo â a dizzy, off-balance feeling â can often be a symptom of inner ear damage or infection. While vertigo can sometimes accompany hearing loss, hearing loss itself does not lead to vertigo. Treating hearing loss with hearing aids should also not cause symptoms of vertigo. If you feel dizzy with new hearing aids, you might want to meet with an audiologist to get to the root of the problem. Hereâs more information if youâre wondering can hearing aids cause vertigo.
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How Can Hearing Aids Help
Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines.
A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear. Surviving hair cells detect the larger vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are passed along to the brain. The greater the damage to a persons hair cells, the more severe the hearing loss, and the greater the hearing aid amplification needed to make up the difference. However, there are practical limits to the amount of amplification a hearing aid can provide. In addition, if the inner ear is too damaged, even large vibrations will not be converted into neural signals. In this situation, a hearing aid would be ineffective.