Hearing aids have a microphone that collects sound, an amplifier that increases its volume and a speaker which transmits the sound directly into your ear canal. The small but technologically advanced devices can help improve communication, keep you more aware of your surroundings, manage tinnitus symptoms and may even help improve your balance.
How Are Balance and Hearing Loss Related?
The vestibular system located in the inner ear helps keep you balanced by detecting the movement and position of your head in space. When you move your head, the fluid in the ear canal shifts, and the vestibular system sends location information to your brain. With the information, your brain can locate your head in space and improve your overall balance.
Sensorineural hearing loss (hearing loss stemming from the inner ear) and other inner-ear conditions such as Ménière’s disease or labyrinthitis can disrupt the function of the vestibular system and lead to dizziness, vertigo, staggered walking and more, all of which contribute to poor balance.
A study comparing the balance of those with hearing loss to those without found that the static, dynamic and functional balance skills of those with sensorineural hearing loss were impaired compared to their peers with normal hearing. This correlation is most likely caused by a disruption of the vestibular system from sensorineural hearing loss.
What Affect Do Hearing Aids Have on Balance?
Balance disorders and hearing loss cannot be cured by hearing aids. Instead, the devices help your balance by improving your spacial awareness. A study on the balance of older adults with hearing loss concluded that auditory information is important for maintaining static balance function and stability. Hearing aids can provide the necessary auditory information for improved static balance function and stability.
The improved balance you get from hearing aids can be compared to the improved balance you get from open versus closed eyes. Just as you might feel unsteady balancing with your eyes closed, you may feel unsteady balancing without full use of your ears.
Wearing hearing aids can help you get back to firmer footing during runs at Thompson Memorial Park or backyard games with your friends and family.
Call Amarillo Hearing Clinic today to begin your hearing aid treatment with one of our trusted audiologists.