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The Balance & Hearing Relationship From The Hearing Doctors

The Balance & Hearing Relationship From The Hearing Doctors

You are sitting down for awhile and decide to grab a drink of water. You stand up too quickly, and there is a sudden rush of dizziness. Or maybe you have been sick with a flu, and you feel very congested. When you try to get out of bed, you find yourself nearly falling over. What in the world is going on? And is it serious?

The correlation between balance and the condition of your ears has long been established by experts. But you may not know just how much your hearing has to do with your ability to stand upright.

What The Studies Say About The Hearing/Balance Relationship

Back in 2009 a study was done on older female twins that experienced varying levels of hearing trouble. Using a control of those without hearing problems, the researchers charted the frequency of falls, based on the levels of hearing loss experienced by the patients. The study clearly showed that the higher the hearing loss, the more risk there was for the patient to fall.

Another, much smaller study was also conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in 2014. Using 14 patients between the ages of 65 and 91, they were able to find that those who used hearing aids were able to improve their balance. While it was a very tiny sample size, the consistent results using hearing apparatuses is a clear indication that hearing itself is a major function for balance, not merely damage to the ear.

The second study mentioned found something else quite fascinating. According to the researchers involved, they were able to show that it wasn’t just the ability to hear and so be more alert, a common theory in the past. Instead, the patients were taking the information passed through the ear to the brain, and better reacting to that information on a deep, more cognitive level. It completely changed the way that experts looked hearing and balance, and has been used in the last few years to better tailor treatments for those with chronic vertigo.

Which brings us to the makeup of the ear itself.

The Inner Ear Is Where We Find Balance Associated Problems

It may be hard to understand how, but your balance is seriously impacted by your hearing. It all begins deep inside of the ear, where a complex system is operating to help you keep track of your environment. One chamber and what lies within is especially important: your inner ear.

The inner ear is home to a series of tubes, which are filled with different fluids. When too much or too little fluid exists, there can be numerous problems with hearing. These might include balance issues, as well as ringing, hearing loss, or difficulty picking up specific sounds.

Within this chamber you will also find the cochlear. Shaped like a snail shell, it is where the organ responsible for the sense of hearing is located. When someone gets a cochlear implant, it is placed inside this portion of the inner ear.

Another area of the inner ear is the vestibular. It is responsible for sending messages to the brain that show the location of the body to different environmental spaces. When these signals are not able to be properly sent from one end to the other, vertigo and balance abnormalities are the result. So when you stand up suddenly and your inner ear is not functioning like it should, your brain doesn’t get the message that it should compensate for the change in movement. You end up dizzy.

Intervention For Balance Problems Related To Hearing

When it comes to hearing loss, the earlier you get help, the better. Especially when you are experiencing balance problems, which can be deeply unsettling for the patient, and even debilitating to their life. A hearing specialist can help diagnose problems, and give you a referral to the correct doctor to assist you. In most cases you will be referred to an audiologist, who will give you a rundown of the best options for your particular situation.

Some of the potential treatments for inner ear related balance problems include:

A hearing aid – This is the most common solution. It works by amplifying and filtering sound around you, so you can better pick up necessary noises. In the case of inner ear damage, it will give sound an additional push that allows it to be read by the brain.


Medication – Some medication can be used to treat more minor ailments, such as infection or inflammation. Both of these can be causes to inner ear damage, which may be short or long term.


Surgery – In severe cases there may need to be surgical intervention. This will repair damage to the bones, or other areas that are not functioning properly.


Cochlear implants – In the most severe cases a cochlear implant may be used. These amazing devices actually take the place of damaged functions in the ear, rather than merely amplifying sound.

A Doctor of Audiology will be able to examine your ears and tell you the cause of your balance problem.

Get Help Today

You don’t have to live with this debilitating condition. If you have been experiencing hearing loss, chances are that you have some inner ear damage that has to be corrected. To learn more about treating both hearing loss and balance issues, visit Hearing Doctors.

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