Hearing loss doesn’t 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.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a sudden spinning sensation that is often triggered by moving your head to quickly. If you have hearing loss and often experience dizziness or balance trouble, then you should visit a certified audiologist who is trained in balance and disorders of the ear.
How is Vertigo Connected to Hearing Loss?
Our balance system relies on the labyrinth, a maze of bone and tissue in the inner ear. In the labyrinth is the cochlea, which is where the hearing nerve is located. Near the cochlea are semicircular canals and the otolithic organs which are responsible for our sense of balance. This is where our body, along with our sight and touch, senses movement.
There are many factors that can lead to vertigo or balance problems, but it is known that hearing loss can cause balance disorders. Problems with the inner ear that can be responsible for hearing loss can also lead to balance problems, dizziness, and vertigo. Our ears are responsible for more than just hearing. They hold the vestibular system, so when you have hearing loss you can experience balance problems as well.
Vertigo, or other balance disorders, and hearing loss do not always go together. You can have hearing loss without ever experiencing a problem with your balance, or you could have vertigo without having hearing loss. It’s important if you have hearing loss that is the result of a head or ear injury to seek immediate attention, so you don’t have additional problems with balance or falls in the future.
If you are experiencing sudden hearing loss and you are recently having problems with your balance or dizziness, then you could have Ménierè's disease.
Ménierè's disease is an ear condition that affects the inner ear and vestibular system, which is the system that helps you maintain your sense of balance. This causes fluid build-up in the inner ear and part of the cochlea (the Corti) becomes swollen, leading to feelings of fullness, dizziness, and fluctuating hearing loss.
Ménierè's disease is incredibly common, affecting approximately 615,000 Americans. Symptoms of Ménierè's disease include hearing loss, severe dizziness (vertigo), lack of balance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), ear pain, and pressure. Just like hearing loss, Ménierè's disease can range from mild to severe.
What Can I Do?
An audiologist can help you by finding the cause of your hearing loss and dizziness and offering solutions to help you feel better.
Taking care of your hearing health means you will feel better overall. Our ears are connected to our bodies and overall health, so it’s important to practice good ear health and see a hearing professional regularly.
If you are experiencing symptoms of vertigo or you have hearing loss, then make an appointment with an EarQ provider today. They will identify any problems you are having and will help you find a solution so you can hear better and feel steady on your feet again.