Does Hearing Loss Cause Balance Issues
Though some of these conditions are tied together, hearing loss and balance problems do not always occur together. Not all people who suffer from balance disorders suffer from hearing loss, and not all people with hearing loss experience a noticeable loss of balance. However, they do occur in tandem from time to time.
Both Labyrinthitis and Meniere’s disease can result in hearing loss and balance problems.
Labyrinthitis is an infection of the inner ear. It occurs when the labyrinth, a structure within your inner ear, becomes swollen and inflamed. This can lead to hearing loss,tinnitus, feelings of vertigo, and nausea. This condition is also known as vestibular neuronitis, but the difference is that vestibular neuronitis does not involve hearing loss. Most people do not experience a loss of hearing when suffering from an inner ear infection, but it is possible. That is when the condition becomes Labyrinthitis. Most cases of these conditions can be treated and cured, but severe infections can lead to lasting damage.
When Should I Seek Help If I Think I Have A Balance Disorder
To help you decide whether to seek medical help for dizziness or balance problems, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to any of these questions, talk to your doctor:
- Do I feel unsteady?
- Do I feel as if the room is spinning around me, even for a very brief time?
- Do I feel as if I’m moving when I know I’m sitting or standing still?
- Do I lose my balance and fall?
- Do I feel as if I’m falling?
- Do I feel lightheaded or as if I might faint?
- Do I have blurred vision?
- Do I ever feel disorientedlosing my sense of time or location?
How Is Balance Controlled
A balance disorder may occur in different situations and may have various causes. You can feel dizzy, floaty, unsteady, have blurred vision, suffer disorientation, confusion, faintness or vertigo and even panic or fear. These may happen regardless of the position of the body – lying or standing up.
Responsible for the body sense of balance is a structure in the inner ear called the labyrinth, bearing the name due to its specific maze resemblance. The labyrinth is a combination of tissue and bone and is very delicate and complex. It comprises different parts including the semicircular canals and otolithic organs and the cochlea, which is in control of hearing. Together the vestibular and the visual system let the body know its position with respect to earth and gravity and coordinate in such a way so that there is no blurring of objects when moving. The muscles and joints in the body assist in keeping an upright or sitting position via special sensory receptors.
Don’t Miss: Which Doctor To Consult For Tinnitus
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.
The Causes Of Balance Disorder
The different organs of the body work together to ensure balance, and the ears play a vital role here. Therefore, problems with your inner ear can also contribute to balance disorders.
Here are some of the most common problems that can cause balance disorder issues.
- Blood circulation issues inside the inner ear
Balance disorder treatments entirely depend on the type of condition you are suffering from.
Many patients with untreatable and permanent balance issues seek out various ear balancing disorder exercises. Such exercises are commonly called VRT or Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy.
These exercises will help your balance system be aware of specific movements, which will then eventually make it simple for you to move without even triggering your vertigo.
Although it may not entirely solve the issue, it can indeed prevent you from falling and make it easier for you to move on with vertigo.
Many patients who take VRT face fewer problems while turning their heads, bending over, and walking on patterned floors.
VRT exercises need to be performed accurately to receive positive effects. Moreover, a VRT expert will always be there to guide you with proper counselling and activities.
You may also consider hearing aids to deal with this problem. Visit nanohearingaids.com to order affordable hearing aids.
Read Also: How To Say Hungry In Sign Language
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. Its 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 . Luckily, special exercises can get the crystals back in the right place.
Diagnosis Of Menieres Disease
A diagnosis of Menieres disease includes vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus and a feeling of pressure. Many of the symptoms of Menieres disease can also be caused by other conditions, so diagnosis of the condition often involves first ruling out other medical possibilities.There is no specific test for Menieres disease, but doctors use a range of tests in combination to help diagnose the disorder. These include:
- Hearing tests to test if hearing loss is specific to your inner ear. Low frequency loss is an indicator of Menieres.
- Electronystagmography measures involuntary eye movement while your balance is put under stress.
- Magnetic resonance imaging can be used to rule out disorders of the central nervous system that may be confused with Menieres disease, such as acoustic neuroma, Arnold-Chiari malformation and multiple sclerosis .
Read Also: Sign Language 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.
How Can Balance Disorders Be Diagnosed
Balance disorders are evaluated with audiologic testing, videonystagmography and often magnetic resonance imaging . VNG examines a special type of eye movement called nystagmus. Nystagmus occurs when the brain attempts to determine the position of the body when it receives conflicting messages from the ears. Nystagmus lets the examiner know the position at which the patient is dizzy. However, nystagmus is not always position-related and not all causes of dizziness result in nystagmus.
Read Also: Are You Hungry In Sign Language
Introduction To The Vestibular System
The vestibular system is located in your inner ear and maintains balance throughout your body. This system is also responsible for giving you awareness of your bodys relationship with the space around you.
- The Labyrinth is the area of the inner ear that houses all the components of the vestibular system. This maze-like structure is comprised of spongy bone and soft tissues.
- The Semicircular Canals are three fluid-filled ducts nestled inside the labyrinth. Arranged at right angles to one another, the movement of liquids in these structures help track your heads vertical movements.
- The Cupula are gel-like structures stretching across the semicircular canals like drumheads. The base of this drumhead rests against a series of sensitive hair cells, stereocilia. When you shift your head, these tiny hairs bend to follow the movement of your head.
- The Utricle and Saccule are otolithic organs resting between the cochlea and the semicircular canals. Much like the canals, they use stereocilia to track the movement of your head as it relates to gravity.
The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Vertigo
Hearing loss doesnt 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.
You May Like: How To Say Poop In Sign Language
Do Deaf People Lose Their Balance
These nerve signals, which go to the brain, help us to stay upright. However, if something goes wrong with one of these three systems, it can make us lose our balance. In fact, the hearing and balance systems are connected inside the inner ear. This is why as many as 30% of deaf people may have balance problems.
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
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 .
Menieres Disease And Endolymphatic Hydrops
Meniere’s 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 Meniere’s 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 diseaseMeniere’s 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.
Don’t Miss: What Is Poop In Sign Language
Hearing Loss And Balance
Hearing loss doesnt cause balance disorders on its own, however problems with the inner ear thats responsible for hearing may also disrupt your vestibular system. That means hearing loss may be a sign of an underlying condition which is also impairing your balance. Ear infections, poor blood circulation in the inner, and head injuries can all lead to balance disorders. Tumors, medications, arthritis, eye muscle imbalance, and low blood pressure are also some non-hearing related problems that can cause balance disorders. An ENT specialist can perform tests to determine the exact reason for a balance disorder. Visit your doctor today if you are having trouble with your hearing or balance.
What Is A Balance Disorder
Every year, over 30 million people in the United States are diagnosed with a balance disorder. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, a balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy. Common symptoms include:
- dizziness or vertigo
- feeling as if you are floating or falling
- the inability to walk in a straight line
- blurred vision
- feeling disoriented
In addition to these symptoms, one may also experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, panic, fatigue, depression, and the inability to focus.
These symptoms often occur off and on, for short to longer periods of time. While these symptoms may be frustrating to experience, they are rarely signs of a more serious condition.
Recommended Reading: How To Turn On Hearing Aid Mode On Iphone
Hearing Loss And Balance: Everything You Need To Know
While it might seem like good balance is a sign of physical fitness or brain health, balance actually begins in the ear. Most of the vestibular system, which helps you maintain balance and know where you are in space, is deep in the inner ear. Doctors are increasingly recognizing the link between hearing issues, such as hearing loss, and balance. Understanding the connection between the two can help you better assess your risk and reduce your chances of serious injury.
Symptoms Of Menieres Disease
The symptoms of Menieres disease include:
- loss of clear hearing or loss of ability to distinguish speech or location of sound
- loss of balance the surroundings seem to spin. Some people feel a degree of motion sickness, while others may even vomit or experience diarrhoea
- noises in the ear described as hissing, roaring or ringing, or a combination of sounds. The tinnitus may be relentless, or fade in and out. The volume of the tinnitus is variable too, and often increases before a Menieres attack
- hearing loss usually in the low frequencies and includes a fuzzy, unclear quality to sounds
- ear fullness a sensation that the ear is under pressure and close to bursting
- sensitivity to noise some noises can hurt the ears, while other noises may be quiet, but of a particular pitch that causes pain.
Often, one or two symptoms will be more noticeable than others.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Over The Counter Hearing Aid
How We Can Help
If you work with, or help care for, senior adults between the ages of 65 and 74, knowing that 33% of them live with some degree of hearing loss increases the need for balance-related exercises in their workout plans. If we couple this with the statistic that among older adults, falls represent the most common cause of trauma-related hospital admissions, we begin to see a very accurate picture emergingand most importantly, a manner in which we can address these issues and prolong the health and well-being of our ageing clientele.
The Relationship Between Hearing Loss And Balance Issues
Hearing loss and balance disorders may go hand-in-hand, but it isnt uncommon to experience one without the other. The most common cases where hearing loss and balance issues coincide are Labyrinthitis and Menieres disease.
Labyrinthitis is a type of inner ear infection that causes swelling and inflammation. The infection can result in vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus, and nausea. Labyrinthitis can typically be treated, but severe infections may cause more permanent effects.
Menieres disease is a condition that causes a buildup of pressure within the ears labyrinth. It can cause hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus. It cant be cured but is manageable with medicine and sometimes goes away on its own.
Don’t Miss: Phonak Compilot Ii Pairing
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.