If you are suffering from an ear infection or any other problems with your ear, chances are, you are also having issues with your balance. You may even be experiencing dizziness and a feeling of “spinning.” This is because the ear is not just responsible for our hearing, but also for our balance.
As a matter of fact, vertigo and hearing loss are often associated with each other. The two usually occur alongside each other as symptoms of ear infections and diseases such as Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis, and autoimmune inner ear disease.
Balance and Hearing
Our balance is the reason that we stand upright and know our position in relation to gravity. Without the balance system, we can’t walk, run, or stand up without falling to the ground. This is controlled by our inner ear.
The inner ear contains fluid in its canals that detect each movement and rotation of the head. When this inner ear fluid, called the endolymph, is activated, the cells in the canals send signals to the brain. This process helps us know our location in space, head position, and movement. Near these canals in the inner ear are the utricle and the saccule. These two have hair cells that send positional information to the brain when the body is not moving. The utricle senses changes in horizontal movement, while the saccule senses changes in vertical movement.
This is why when our hearing is off or something is not right in the ears, we tend to feel dizzy and out of balance. Meniere’s disease, which affects the inner ear, and otosclerosis, which affects the middle ear, both cause a patient to gradually lose hearing and balance. Balance issues can then lead to vertigo (dizziness, feeling of spinning) and tinnitus (ringing, hissing in the ears). If you have these symptoms, it’s best to seek medical care immediately. Both conditions are treatable with surgery or medication to control hearing loss. Problems with balance can also be treated with therapy and balance rehabilitation.
Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), while shares very similar symptoms with Meniere’s disease, is a different thing altogether. It is caused by your immune system attacking your inner ear, thus causing problems with balance and hearing. This disease is treated by administering high doses of steroids or medication that helps slow down the immune system.
Contact your ENT doctor if you are experiencing vertigo and hearing loss along with these other symptoms:
As our previously mentioned, vertigo and hearing loss are often associated with each other as symptoms of ear infections and diseases. Hence, it shouldn’t be viewed as normal. If you think your child or you suffers from hearing loss and may need a hearing aid prescription, make sure to take a hearing test & assessment first. Our ENT doctor and hearing specialist will try our best to assist you. For appointment, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
and Hearing Aid Prescription