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The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Balance

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Balance

By Eileen Clark, Au.D., CCC-A, Audiology Clinical Director

The ear: one of the smallest organs in the human body, yet it carries such vital functions for our overall health and wellbeing. Deep inside the inner ear lies the cochlea, two otolith organs, and three semicircular canals. Together, the intricate workings of the inner ear give us our sense of hearing as well as balance. 

Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent medical conditions with nearly twenty percent of the world’s population living with some degree of hearing impairment. Not only can an untreated hearing loss pose safety risks such as not hearing emergency alarms or mishearing a doctor’s orders, it can lead to chronic medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, and even cognitive changes. A study completed at Johns Hopkins in 2011 showed that individuals with even a mild degree of untreated hearing loss doubled their risk of developing dementia, and those with a severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia (Lin et al., 2011). 

Additionally, research has shown that those living with untreated hearing loss are at a three-times greater risk of suffering a fall. Balance function stems from our inner ears, our eyes, and the bottoms of our feet, yet each of these systems does not serve equal parts in our equilibrium. The inner ear is responsible for two-thirds of our equilibrium, while our vision and sensation in our feet together make up the last one-third. It is no wonder inner ear dysfunction poses such a high risk of imbalance and falls!

At Levine Hearing, we pride ourselves in comprehensive test batteries and individualized treatment plans for all who seek help with their hearing and balance difficulties. In 2022, we began offering neurodiagnostic evaluations to assess vestibular function as a Center of Specialty Care through the American Institute of Balance (AIB), and earlier this year, we expanded our services to include Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy and Balance Retraining Therapy with Dr. Allison Muth, a board-certified and AIB-trained physical therapist. We are also excited to announce that we now offer cognitive screenings with the FDA-approved Cognivue® system. As part of our holistic approach, our doctors of audiology are happy to offer the latest in hearing technology that not only improves speech clarity and hearing in background noise, but also contains on-board fall detection for our at-risk population. 

We want to help our patients live a healthier and safer life because at Levine Hearing, we believe that when you hear better, you feel better. Please call us today at (704) 540-3081. 


Lin, Frank R et al. “Hearing loss and incident dementia.” Archives of neurology vol. 68,2 (2011): 214-20. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.362

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