Every adult American has experienced dizziness or loss of balance at least once in their life. Most do not attach any importance to this, shifting the problem to stress or fatigue.
Indeed, every third such complaint is non-systemic and is due to temporary difficulties in daily life and/or poor nutrition. However, in many cases, the dizziness can become very disruptive to daily life and requires seeking medical attention. Often, those with hearing difficulties will need to be more aware of balance issues.
Why is a sense of balance so important?
I think it’s no secret to anyone that a sense of balance is of great importance for a person. Thanks to the appropriate sense organs, we support our body in space and interact with the environment and people. People with imbalances may feel like they are falling or spinning even when they are not moving. Some Americans report feeling dizzy when turning their head, especially when they get out of bed or roll over.
Imbalance also affects the motor functions of the body. Inability to control movements can lead to serious consequences. People may stumble from time to time, hold on to walls for coordination, and even fall. Falls and injuries are especially dangerous for the elderly, who often suffer from loss of balance and hearing. Any fall can lead to serious fractures and a long recovery.
Thus, a sense of balance is the most important feeling for a fulfilling life. Unfortunately, we often do not pay attention to it until we encounter health problems. Moreover, imbalance does not occur only in adults or the elderly. According to research, one in 20 children in the US between the ages of 3 and 17 has a dizziness or balance problem. This is a serious problem faced by American health care.
Is there a connection between the hearing system and the balance?
What are the elements of the vestibular system:
The cerebellum, which is located in the brain and is responsible for the coordination of movements
Eyes for the perception of visual information
Proprioception, or joint-muscular feeling, is an unusual sense of the position of parts of one’s own body relative to each other and the surrounding space
The vestibular system in the inner ear consists of three fluid-filled semicircular canals in the cavity of the inner ear. While the cochlea is used for hearing, the canals are used for balance. When the fluid in these tubes moves, the hair cells sense the movement and transmit it to our brain. It allows us to understand how we move in space
Now you know that the sense of balance is based on the labyrinth of bones and tissues located in the inner ear. Our ears are the organs of hearing and balance at the same time! Thus, hearing and balance systems are interconnected and can influence each other. Moreover, the auditory system and the balance organs share a common nerve pathway to the brain called the vestibulocochlear nerve.
Along with the development of hearing loss, the brain spends additional resources on the restoration and strengthening of other senses. During this time, the cognitive resources required for the balance system to work are reduced, thereby disrupting the maintenance of balance in real-life situations. Thus, dizziness and hearing loss are closely related. Together with hearing problems, the risk of falling increases.
However, hearing loss and balance problems do not always occur together. Not all people who suffer from balance disorders suffer from hearing loss, and vice versa. But that doesn’t mean people can’t have both hearing loss and imbalance at the same time. The condition is common among older Americans. Simultaneous loss of vision and hearing creates an additional load on the balance system. Due to age, the joint-muscular feeling is also dulled. In older adults, it leads to loss of balance and frequent falls.
Some disorders cause a loss of balance and hearing. Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro notes the following disorders that should be paid special attention to:
This is inflammation of the inner ear due to an infection. Most people do not suffer from hearing loss, but it can happen. Such a condition is called Labyrinthitis. The disorder causes dizziness, nausea, hearing loss, and imbalance
Meniere’s disease. The disorder is characterized by increased pressure in the labyrinth. It causes dizziness, ringing in the ears, loss of hearing and balance
Do I need medical help?
A minor balance problem that is brief in duration may not cause someone to rush to a physician; however it is important not to ignore it if it occurs more than once. Even if a person has no health problems, he should consult a doctor and undergo a diagnosis. Every individual should take this excellent preventive measure at least once a year.
Remember that with frequent dizziness, there is no time to waste. It can be a symptom, which indicates a health problem. The treatment will depend on the causes of dizziness.
Do you or your relatives have health problems? Be sure to consult with an audiologist! The specialist will conduct an examination and recommend a hearing evaluation to identify the problem. Perhaps hearing loss causes dizziness and loss of orientation in space. If the hearing is normal, the audiologist will refer you to the next doctor. In any case, you will receive advice and learn what to do next.
Health problems cannot be ignored. The sooner you start treatment, the faster you will recover and forget about your problems. Consultation with a doctor is the first step to recovery!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]