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Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

Hearing and Balance

Sometimes, we have patients come in and ask us about why we chose the name of Hearing & Balance Doctors, as the two conditions don’t seem to be related. From a certain perspective, that makes sense, as your hearing has to do with sound perception and balance is a motor skill. However, people are often surprised to find that their hearing can have an impact on their overall balance.

Balance And The Inner Ear

Balance And The Inner Ear

There are three distinct sections to your ear’s anatomy—the outer, middle, and inner ear. While all three of these sections can impact your hearing, it is the inner ear that can impact your balance.

In the inner ear, the semicircular canals have fluid and hair cells that assist with your balance perception. Each canal performs a different job, with one sensing tiling motions, another dealing with side-to-side, and the other managing your sense of up-and-down motion. The fluid in these canals will move to indicate motion, and the hair cells transmit that motion information to the brain via the cochlear nerve.

Your inner ear, along with sending motion information, also tells your brain when you are holding still and not moving. These messages can become jumbled for some who are sensitive to motion and struggle with motion sickness when in vehicles or when viewing certain types of media. However, while something like motion sickness is a temporary issue, a balance disorder can signal a serious issue with the inner ear.

How Hearing Can Impact Your Balance

Sensorineural hearing loss can have a profound impact on your balance. For one thing, if you have begun to experience hearing loss due to loud noise exposure, this means the delicate hair cells in the cochlea have become damaged.

However, you will remember that the semicircular canals also have hair cells to help perceive motion. These hair cells, like the ones in the cochlea, can become damaged with too much noise exposure.

Also, as you experience hearing loss, it is possible to simply miss hearing some things that can impact your ability to balance. For instance, say your grandson is racing his toy cars, but you can’t hear the sound of the little cars moving. You may step directly on one and suffer a bad fall, but by addressing your hearing issues with a doctor of audiology, you may also be able to address your balance concerns.

Balance Testing By Doctors Of Audiology

You can work to resolve your inner ear-induced balance issues by having a balance evaluation performed by one of our doctors of audiology. Along with discussing your general medical history, our audiologists will perform a series of tests, which are:

  • Hearing evaluation
  • Posturography tests
  • Vestibular tests

These tests will allow our doctors of audiology to determine if your balance problems are linked to hearing loss. Once that information is determined, they can move forward in designing a treatment plan for you.

Have Your Balance Issues Addressed At Hearing & Balance Doctors

By working with our doctors of audiology, you can take care of both your hearing health care needs as well as your balance. Our audiologists offer a variety of treatments for both hearing loss and balance issues, such as:

  • Hearing aids
  • Aural rehabilitation
  • Vestibular rehabilitation

To address both your hearing and balance, you can contact us to meet with one of our doctors of audiology, and start your journey toward better balance and hearing.