Our ears are often solely associated with hearing, but they do so much more for our bodies than that. Ears are just as involved in helping us balance as the eyes and brain. Symptoms that affect your balance, such as vertigo, may arise if there is an imbalance in one or both ears.
How Does the Ear Help Us Balance?
The body’s general balance system is located within the inner ear. It’s comprised of three circular tubes on each side. Each tube has its own directional function. One tube senses left/right, another is up/down, and the other senses tilt. The fluid inside of these tubes sends signals to the brain to help control balance.
It’s little known that hearing and balance difficulties can go hand and hand since both begin within the inner ear. Problems with the inner ear can cause imbalances such as dizziness, vertigo, and nausea. Inner ear imbalances can mimic motion sickness even when you aren’t moving.
The Relationship Between Hearing Loss and Balance Issues
Hearing loss and balance disorders may go hand-in-hand, but it isn’t uncommon to experience one without the other. The most common cases where hearing loss and balance issues coincide are Labyrinthitis and Meniere’s disease.
Labyrinthitis is a type of inner ear infection that causes swelling and inflammation. The infection can result in vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus, and nausea. Labyrinthitis can typically be treated, but severe infections may cause more permanent effects.
Meniere’s disease is a condition that causes a buildup of pressure within the ear’s labyrinth. It can cause hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus. It can’t be cured but is manageable with medicine and sometimes goes away on its own.
Balance disorders have a variety of causes and are characterized by feelings of dizziness or vertigo. Treating balance disorders can vary greatly depending on the cause of the problem. Balance disorders can sometimes be treated with medication, diet, or even go away on their own. Some balance disorders are permanent, some are temporary, and others can be managed.
Call us today at the Atkins Hearing Center for more information or have a certified hearing specialist assess your hearing. A call to the Atkins Hearing Center may be the first step in helping you regain balance in your life.