How Hearing Impacts Balance

young woman in moderate pain or distress

Hearing loss has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. It can happen suddenly or gradually, as the tiny hairs in your ear become damaged over time.

The ear is an important organ since it not only processes sound waves but also plays a significant role in the vestibular system, which is a combination of the visual system and the direction of the body that helps it keep its balance. Balance disorders can occur when any aspect of this intricate system is disrupted.

Your Hearing and Balance

The inner ear structure is known as the labyrinth, because it resembles a complex maze, and is largely responsible for the body’s sense of balance and orientation. The labyrinth is a bone and tissue structure that is exceedingly sensitive and delicate. The semicircular canals and otolithic organs, which control balance, are part of the labyrinth, as is the cochlea, which controls hearing.

This system alerts your body to gravity and assists you in remaining upright and seeing stuff clearly (this is why your visual system also plays a role in balance).

How Do We Maintain Our Balance?

The labyrinth, a network of bone and tissue housed in the inner ear, is important to our balance system. It is home to the semicircular canals, otolithic organs, and cochlea. While the cochlea is responsible for hearing, the canals are responsible for the balance. These resemble three circular loops, each of which detects a distinct type of movement. One sense detects up/down, another detects side-to-side, and the last detects tilt.

When the fluid in these tubes moves, the hair cells detect it and send it to our brain. This enables us to comprehend how we move across space. Our balance system is so sensitive that it can detect movement within a vehicle or elevator.

Balance issues, dizziness, vertigo and even nausea can result from inner ear abnormalities. We may believe we are moving when we are not, struggle to stay upright, or experience motion sickness when standing stationary. All of them are major concerns that can impair our capacity to move and sit up. People suffering from severe vertigo may even feel nauseated while lying down.

A variety of factors might contribute to balance issues, but a lesser-known reality is that hearing loss can create balance impairments. Our ears do more than just hear, and the presence of semicircular canals in our ears might cause balance problems in persons who have hearing loss.

Is it Possible That Hearing Loss Affects Your Balance?

While hearing loss is not immediately responsible for loss of balance, it does depend on which region of the ear is injured and what sort of hearing loss you have. When the inner ear no longer controls your sense of balance, the rest of the system works hard to compensate, which means you rely more on information from your eyes and joints, which can cause dizziness, headaches, and body aches.

If the vestibular system is compromised and there is a larger underlying problem causing hearing loss and a balance deficit, you may have both hearing loss and balance impairment. While hearing loss may not immediately influence your sense of balance, it should be cause for concern if you have hearing loss in addition to a loss of balance.

What Causes Balance Disorders?

Impaired balance can be caused by a variety of circumstances. These are some examples:

  • A head injury or an accident that causes inner ear trauma
  • An infection of the inner ear may temporarily impair the labyrinth.
  • An imbalance in the ocular muscles
  • Their blood pressure is too low.
  • Labyrinthitis is a disorder that impairs balance.

A unique inner ear infection that causes inflammation of the labyrinth directly affects balance and can cause hearing loss. When one of the nerves responsible for transmitting signals to the brain to maintain balance becomes inflamed, this occurs. This ailment will also result in a sudden loss of hearing in one ear in the high-frequency spectrum. You will feel dizzy, nauseated, and vomiting, as well as have difficulties maintaining your balance.

Avoid ear infections that can impair your balance by cleaning your hearing aids regularly, maintaining a strong immune system and consulting your audiologist as soon as you notice any unusual symptoms. To learn more about your hearing and how it can impact your balance, please contact our friendly team at Hearing Solutions of Louisiana by calling (337) 607-0630. We will be happy to assist you or answer any questions you have regarding hearing loss, tinnitus, balance issues and other ear-related maladies.