Hearing loss is a common condition people face as they get older. Untreated hearing loss as we age can be difficult not just for you, but also for your family. As people age, especially people who have always been independent, it can be hard for them to admit that they are losing their hearing. Not wanting to be a burden they keep it to themselves which can be bad not just for their physically health but also their emotional health as well.
Issues Related to Untreated Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss can cause anxiety and depression, and it can also cause the person to withdraw from their friends and family because they can’t understand what they are saying. Seeking treatment for hearing loss can make a person feel embarrassed so they don’t do it. Untreated hearing loss can only get worse if ignored. Presbycusis is age related hearing loss and it happens as people get older. Not everyone will experience but most will, especially if there is a family history. This type of loss effect both ears gradually.
Balance Disorders & Hearing Loss
If a person has a balance disorder it almost always can be traced back to the ear. A balance disorder makes a person feel dizzy not only when they are on their feet but sitting or lying down. Many things can cause a balance disorder. Infections in the ear, blood circulation disorders or a head injury are the most common. Low blood pressure and arthritis can contribute to balance disorders and make a person dizzy. Inner ear problems and different medications can also affect balance. Usually as a person gets older the more medications they must take. Be it medications for blood pressure, arthritis, heart problems or blood thinners. Different medications especially when mixed can contribute to a balance disorder. Sometimes this may be avoidable if the person must take this medication and there is no alternative.
The most common are Vertigo. When a person has vertigo, they feel dizzy or like they are constantly tilting to one side. It is an inner ear problem. Vestibular neuronitis is inflammation of the vestibular nerve. Perilymph fistula is the leaking of the inner ear fluid into the middle ear. This disorder causes unsteadiness, dizziness and nausea. Labyrinthitis is the infection or inflammation of the inner ear. This disorder can make you feel dizzy and cause you to frequently lose your balance. Ménière’s disease is when the fluid in some parts of the inner ear change volume. It brings on bouts of vertigo, tinnitus and irregular hearing loss. Sadly, the cause of this disorder is unknown. Balance disorders can be difficult for a person and their family to deal with. A person dealing with a balance disorder may find themselves not wanting to go anywhere. They want to stay close to home because they don’t know when the disorder will hit them. Sometimes it’s difficult for them to go anywhere because they feel dizzy as soon as they stand up. This can be rectified depending on the reason for the disorder. Sometimes its medication, sometimes it’s an inner ear or hearing problem.
Relationship between Hearing Loss & Balance
Hearing or lack thereof can affect your balance. It is amazing how everything in the body is connected. Surprisingly something as big as how we feel in our surroundings is controlled by something as small as the ear. The inner ear to be exact. The ear may seem small on the outside but on the inside, it is a maze. A series of loops and pockets that help with balance. The vestibular system contains all parts of the inner ear. This system works with the eyes and skeletal system to help maintain balance. The system also helps you to stay focused on an object even when your body changes position.
The ear and our sensorimotor systems work in tandem with each other. When a person can’t hear, it’s easy for them to lose bearings. A hearing aid can help a person hear and they may get their balance back. Sound is another way we experience the world. Sound lets our brain know what is happening around us which helps with balance. People seeking treatment for hearing loss may regain their hearing and balance with the help of a hearing aid. If the reason for a loss in balance is due to lack of hearing, a hearing aid may be the best way to remedy that and give someone their life back.
Blue Wave Hearing Centers
If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and struggle with balance, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!