Hearing loss has been known to create difficulty in communication, poor awareness of one’s surroundings and even uneven balance. Hearing aids help relieve these problems by amplifying speech sounds and relevant background noise to improve communication and providing auditory information to improve balance.
Let’s examine the link between poor balance and hearing loss as well as how hearing aids can help.
What Is the Link Between Balance and Hearing Loss?
Your balance is improved through a properly functioning vestibular system. The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, detects fluid shifts in the ear canal to establish the movement and position of your head in space. Information about the position and movement are then sent to the brain to improve balance.
Poor balance can occur when the function of the vestibular system is disrupted. Inner-ear conditions which may impact the functioning of the vestibular system include but are not limited to:
- Sensorineural hearing loss (hearing loss stemming from the inner ear)
- Ménière’s disease
Vestibular system disruption from these conditions can lead to many balance-disordering symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, staggered walking and more.
A study of eighty children (40 with hearing loss and 40 without) done to determine the impact of sensorineural hearing loss on balance found that children with sensorineural hearing loss exhibited impaired static, dynamic and functional balance skills as compared to their normal hearing peers. In these cases, it is likely that hearing loss disrupted the vestibular system and led to poor balance.
How Can Hearing Aids Help?
A study on the effect of hearing aids on the static balance function and stability of older adults found that hearing aids could be effective in improving static balance and providing auditory information.
Hearing aids can help allow your ears and eyes to work together to provide information about depth perception of your head’s position in space. Similar to how you might feel more balanced with your eyes open, hearing aids can help open your ears as well.
For more information on the treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders, contact Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic today to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted specialists.