Balance and Hearing are Intimately Connected
But are Balance and Hearing really connected?
We get this question a lot… are hearing and balance related? The answer is yes! There are many different ways hearing loss can affect your balance.
One way would be when you think about hearing, you probably think of it as a way to communicate and socialize with others. But hearing is so much more than that. Think about this – you are having a conversation and you turn around; you trip and fall over someone that just moved their chair backwards right behind you.
You didn’t know someone had just moved their chair because you couldn’t hear they just moved their chair. Hearing allows us to localize what is going on in our environment. Data collected from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey revealed that “individuals with hearing loss were significantly more likely to have recently experienced a fall” (Carpenter & Campos, 2020).
Another way hearing loss can affect your balance is discussed as your cognitive capacity. Cognitive capacity is “the total amount of information the brain is capable of retaining at any particular moment” (Hill & Stark, 2022). In other words, your brain can only obtain so much information at one time. If you are really having to focus on someone speaking to you, due to your hearing loss, you have less capacity to focus on other things.
Did you know these two organs touch each other?
Your hearing and balance organs are located in your inner ear. With a thorough evaluation by our hearing care professionals, we can determine if a referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor is recommended. A sudden loss of hearing may be a sign of something more serious going on that could affect your balance system as well.
There is hope. The good news is, we, at Levine Hearing, are experts on all things hearing and balance. If a hearing loss is found and you are experiencing imbalance and falling, hearing aids are a great option. With devices, they can provide sound that you were not able to hear back into your world.
Technology has come a long way; it’s always advancing and improving. Hearing aids have done the same and now they do more than you could ever imagine! For instance, hearing aids now have the technology to detect when you have fallen. This feature is called fall detection and can help provide you with the appropriate assistance you need faster and easier. The way it works is when you are wearing your hearing aids and fall, up to 3 people of your choosing will be notified automatically.
The family members and/or friends that are notified will receive a text message stated that you have fallen. At that time, they are able to react efficiently and effectively for you. Fall detection can be set up at any time and the process is quite simple. If you choose, we can set up your fall detection in the office, so it is ready to go as soon as you walk out. Fall detection also has a manual alert. This means that if you are experiencing any type of emergency, you can manually notify your designated contacts with just a press and hold of a button. Fall detection may be what helps you the next time you experience a fall.
If you have fallen or have felt imbalanced, getting a full neurodiagnostic, or in other words, balance evaluation is highly encouraged. This appointment is about 2 hours long and includes a hearing screen. The hearing screen will determine, on a pass/fail scale, if you will need to be scheduled for a full hearing evaluation if hearing loss is present. We would love to help you with your hearing and imbalance needs! Click on the following link to schedule an appointment with us today.