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Hearing and Mental Health – Part 1: Balance

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When most people think of hearing loss, they typically think it affects just that, their hearing. However, hearing loss affects more than you think, including mental health, physical health, social interactions, and much more. We at Audiology Innovations are here to provide insight on how hearing affects people, starting with our first series surrounding mental health. The first part of this series will cover the effect hearing loss has on balance.

For more information about hearing loss, or for resources about hearing protection, assisted listening devices, and more, visit our website today.

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HOW HEARING AFFECTS YOUR BALANCE

The ear hosts the vestibular system.

Simply put, the vestibular system is a sensory system that relays information to our brain, including head position, spatial orientation, motion, balance, posture, and more.

As a result, if someone starts to experience problems with their hearing, it can cause them to feel unsteady, off-balance, or make it seem like they are constantly moving even if they are actually completely still. All of these symptoms are related to vertigo, which can have a direct impact on one’s ability to walk, stand, or even sit.

DOES HEARING LOSS CAUSE BALANCE ISSUES?

While the conditions listed above are related in a certain capacity, it doesn’t mean that hearing loss automatically causes problems with one’s balance. Some people can experience hearing implications, but their balance remains perfectly normal, and vice versa. The main point to keep in mind is that the two, hearing and balance, can occur in tandem from time to time. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms we have covered so far, schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists today.

HOW CAN HEARING AIDS HELP IMPROVE BALANCE?

It’s important to keep in mind that each person is unique, and what may work for one person may not work for the next. With that being said, there have been studies conducted that have found enhancing hearing may improve balance in people who have experienced hearing loss. 

A particular study from Washington University School of Medicine, which consisted of a small group of people, lended support that improving hearing loss through hearing aids reduced the risk of falls in people that were 65 years of age and older. The participants in the study were given various balance tests, including covering their eyes, balancing on one foot at a time, and other similar tests. Each participant completed the tests without any assisted listening devices, and then again with hearing aids. While some of the participants performed well with or without assisted listening devices, the participants that struggled in the first tests without any hearing assistance performed better with their hearing aids than without. 

While this study was small, it goes to show there is a degree of correlation between hearing aids and improved balance. As mentioned earlier, each person is different when it comes to their hearing and balance, so it’s important to seek professional help when looking to improve your balance, hearing, or both. If you’re interested in seeing what hearing protection and assisted listening devices can do for you, schedule an appointment with us at Audiology Innovations today!

IMPROVE YOUR HEARING TODAY

We at Audiology Innovations are the leading providers of hearing tests and assisted listening devices throughout Canada. Not only are we able to help you find the perfect hearing solutions for you at our office, but we are also able to come to your home, and we can even provide remote hearing adjustments if needed. For all of your hearing needs, turn towards our expert staff here at Audiology Innovations. Schedule an appointment today to get started!

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Our staff. We each have unique reasons why we want to help you hear better.

We want to know what each patient’s unique hearing challenges are. We therefore complete a thorough audiometric test battery as well as ‘listening in noise’ testing. This gives us a better understanding of the ‘real world’ hearing abilities you have.

There is extensive research to show that early identification and treatment is critical to good brain health.

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