Some people are initially surprised to hear that their audiologist doesn’t treat only issues related to their ears and hearing, but balance issues, as well. However, as some people experience, the two can very much be related. Many balance issues are directly connected to the ears, and hearing can impact your balance as well.

Here, we’re going to look at the relationship that balance and hearing have to each other, as well as how your audiologist can help if you’re experiencing issues with either or both.

Common Balance Disorders

Balance disorder is a widespread term that covers a range of balance conditions as well as symptoms that can affect your sense of balance, as well as vertigo and dizziness. Some of the most common ones are positional vertigo, which causes vertigo based on the movement of tiny, harmless “bio-crystals” in the ear.

Labyrinthitis is another condition that manifests as hearing loss and vertigo often caused by an ear infection. If you’re experiencing balance issues, there are several potential diagnoses, so it’s best to see your audiologist as soon as you can.

The Causes of Balance Disorders

There are various potential causes of balance disorders, as there are several organs that play a role in our sense of balance, with the inner ear being one of the most important. Some of the causes include the following:

• Ear infections
• Trauma to the ear
• Blood circulation issues with the ear
• Low blood pressure
• The use of some medications
• Tumors
• Eye muscle imbalance
• Arthritis

Since there are so many potential causes of balance issues, your audiologist is likely to ask you some questions before examining your ear to help them divine the most likely potential causes.

How the Ear Affects Balance

The inner ear is often at the center of issues related to balance disorders. The vestibular system, in particular, is one of two parts of the inner ear that affects balance. It’s comprised of a network of spiraling tubes, called the semicircular canals, that meet in the vestibule. These tubes are designed to sense movement when you move your head, converting it into signals sent to your brain. Your brain adjusts how you feel your position in the world as a result of these signals.

When there are issues with these tubes, the signals don’t get sent to the brain as they should, which in turn can lead to feelings of nausea and dizziness. It can take a while for these mixed signals to correct which is why, for instance, it can take a while for the room to stop spinning after we stop spinning.

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Balance Disorders

There is no direct causal link between hearing loss and balance disorders. That is to say that you’re not going to start experiencing balance issues if you experience hearing loss. However, there are issues that can cause or affect both your hearing and your sense of balance. For instance, an ear infection can have complications that affect both your hearing as well as your balance.

This is due to the fact that both your hearing and your sense of balance are impacted by the inner ear. While the vestibular system is the part that affects your balance, the cochlea is the part that affects your hearing. However, if one condition or causal effect (such as an injury or change in blood pressure or flow) affects one part of the inner ear, it’s likely to impact the other part of the inner ear, as well.

Treatments for Balance Disorders

There are several treatments for balance disorders, each of which is going to depend on the root cause of the balance issues. Your audiologist can help you find, diagnose, and treat many of those issues. For instance, if an ear infection is a cause, then they can treat it with antibiotics. Otherwise, audiologists can prescribe or recommend treatments such as ear balance disorder exercises or vestibular rehabilitation therapies which can help reduce the symptoms of chronic balance disorders.

If you’re experiencing hearing loss or other hearing issues alongside a balance disorder, then an audiologist can treat that, as well.

Get Help with Hearing and Balance Issues Today

If you’re experiencing differences with your hearing, balance issues, or both at the same time, then your audiologist is the best person to get in touch with first. You can learn more about the services that Imagine Hearing Solutions provides by exploring the website or you can get in touch with us directly at (530) 392-4533.

Tags: hearing and balance