According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Disorders, millions of Americans suffer from balance issues. What you also might not know is that balance and hearing disorders are often related. How can hearing affect your balance? Keep reading to find out!
What Are the Symptoms of Balance and Hearing Disorders?
Common signs of balance disorders include dizziness, vertigo, unsteadiness, difficulty walking, and frequent falls. Hearing disorders are often characterized by hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and difficulty understanding speech.
How Can Hearing Affect Your Balance?
Hearing plays a crucial role in maintaining balance. The connection is managed by the vestibular system in the inner ear. The vestibular system includes the cochlea, which is responsible for hearing, and the semicircular canals, which contribute to balance.
When you move, your inner ear detects motion and relays this information to the brain. The brain integrates auditory input (hearing) with vestibular input (balance) to help you maintain equilibrium. Any disruptions in this system can lead to balance issues, dizziness, and vertigo.
Hearing Disorders Are Not Always Related to Problems With Balance
There are multiple causes of hearing loss. It’s typically regarded as a natural part of the aging journey. Problems in the inner ear can lead to balance disorders. Depending on the root cause, these conditions may be connected or independent of one another.
How Are Balance Disorders Diagnosed?
Diagnosis includes a comprehensive medical history review, physical examination, and specialized balance tests.
Common diagnostic tests involve evaluating eye movements, positioning the head and body to determine what movements bring on symptoms, and assessing hearing and inner ear function. Additional assessments may include imaging scans and blood tests to rule out underlying medical conditions.
Is Treatment Available?
Now that you have an answer to your question, “Can hearing affect your balance,” let’s talk about what comes next. The right course of action to help eliminate balance disorders depends on the cause. Options include medication to manage specific conditions, such as vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) to improve balance and reduce dizziness.
Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes like dietary modifications. Surgical interventions may be considered in cases of structural issues.
I’m Concerned About My Hearing Health and Equilibrium – How Do I Find a Reputable Audiologist?
It’s great you’ve decided to seek the proper care. You should never ignore hearing issues!
Start your search by seeking recommendations from your primary care provider. You can also turn to your personal network for suggestions. Friends, family, or coworkers who’ve had positive experiences with audiologists can offer valuable insights.
Researching online is another effective method. Websites, forums, and social media platforms often feature patient reviews and ratings for healthcare providers, including audiologists. Read these reviews to gauge patient satisfaction.
Professional organizations like the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association have directories of licensed audiologists. These organizations uphold high standards for their members.
When considering an audiologist, verify their credentials and experience. Look for licensed professionals with advanced degrees and a specialization in your specific hearing concerns.
Schedule consultations with a few potential audiologists to assess their communication style, the comprehensiveness of their assessments, and their willingness to address your questions and concerns. This personal interaction will help you determine whether you feel comfortable with the audiologist.
Ultimately, trust your instincts and choose an audiologist who not only has the necessary qualifications but also makes you feel at ease and confident in their care.
Choose Potomac Audiology for Outstanding Care to Protect Your Hearing Health!
We are committed to offering a thorough evaluation of your unique needs, whether it’s hearing concerns or balance issues – or both! Contact us today at 240-599-3641 to schedule an appointment at either our Frederick or Rockville office. We look forward to meeting you!