Understanding the Connection Between Hearing and Balance

girl covering ears

Based on statistics, four out of ten people usually visit doctors due to a significant episode of dizziness. And while it’s common to experience a fleeting dizzy spell from time to time, it’s still normal to feel worried whenever it happens.

Furthermore, there are times when this cause for concern could be real. After all, it can also be a symptom of a more severe illness relating to balance disorders and hearing problems. If you want to learn about the correlation between dizziness, balance, and hearing, read on to find out more!

What Causes Dizziness?

In general, dizziness pertains to the sensation of lightheadedness and unsteadiness, and this is often caused by migraines, medications, and alcohol. But most of the time, dizziness results from vertigo as well. This refers to the sensation of disequilibrium due to the rotational perception of yourself or surrounding objects, which usually happens when you change a position rather quickly.

Given all this, it’s natural to think that feeling dizzy isn’t as alarming as it seems. However, the truth is that both dizziness and vertigo are symptoms of severe problems with the inner ear, where balance is mainly regulated.

How Does the Inner Ear Affect Balance?

The parts of your ear that you can’t see hold the most significance. In essence, the inner ear plays a critical role in stability, hearing, and balance. It has two main sections consisting of the cochlea and vestibular system.

At the most basic level, the vestibular system is the one responsible for the balance. It is composed of a network of looped tubes known as semicircular canals, which loop off a central area called the vestibule. It contains fluid that moves up and down to let your brain know which direction you’re currently facing. It also has special sensory cells that activate every time you move or tilt your head.

With all that said, it’s evident that the vestibular system is quite sensitive when detecting small movements of the head. And if you make quick and prolonged movements, it takes time to settle down, which is why the room seems like it’s spinning even after you’ve already stopped.

Will Hearing Problems Affect Balance?

Given that the ear plays a major part in maintaining balance, most people think that hearing issues are also directly linked to balance disorders. While it’s true that there’s a high possibility that both can coincide, it’s vital to remember that hearing problems usually develop independently.

Balance disorders occur because of issues and complications in the inner ear. So, if a patient is suffering from hearing impairment, the balance of the person in question will not be affected unless there’s a problem with their vestibular system.

Conclusion

In a way, balance and hearing are connected due to the functions of the ear. But since different sections of the inner ear are responsible for both, they are not at all directly related. Thus, just because you have hearing problems doesn’t mean you’ll develop balance disorders and vice versa.

Fraser Valley Beltone is a hearing clinic based in Abbotsford committed to providing clinical hearing care to patients within the vicinity. And unlike other healthcare companies, we make it our mission to understand each and every patient we encounter to provide them with fitting hearing solutions that match their needs. Schedule a hearing test in Abbotsford with us today!

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