BALANCE AND HEARING HEALTH

Did you know the way your body balances is connected with hearing health?

Balance disorders such as Vertigo are fairly common. Vertigo is typically temporary episode of imbalance or dizziness. Most people have heard that it is related to your inner ear, but do you know how?

Our bodies are oriented and balanced through the vestibular system, which allows us to stay upright without falling. Our inner ears and our eyes are sensory systems that support the body’s equilibrium and orientation. They translate and connect what is going on around us with our brains.  

The fluids in our inner ears are affected by hearing loss and also by sicknesses such as upper respiratory infections. These fluids control our sense of balance. This is why balance issues can result from hearing loss.

Balance issues can cause all kinds of problems, from increasing the risk of injury from falling, to embarrassment in public.

So how can you decrease your risk of vertigo and other balance problems?

1.    Pay attention to how your medications make you feel. If you always feel dizzy or very lethargic when taking a certain medication, talk to you doctor about other options.

2.    Get annual hearing exams. This is the best way to measure any hearing loss that has already occurred and make a plan to prevent further damage.

3.    If you need hearing aids, get them! They are an investment into not only your hearing, but your balance, your social life and your enjoyment of entertainment!

4.    Move every day. Daily exercise, such as regular walks or going to the gym are so important! Not only will these activities increase circulation and improve balance, it helps to regulate other bodily fluids like inner ear fluid too.

5.    Check your eyes too. When you get your yearly check-up, get a vision check. Poor vision can also increase the risk of balance issues.

Every part of our bodies are connected, and each part influences the others. Your overall health is impacted by your hearing health, so take care of it!

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HEARING LOSS AND EAR INFECTIONS

If your child has had ear infections, you understand how frightening they are. Intense pain along with concern for permanent hearing loss.

Hearing damage can be the result of an ear infection, but it is uncommon: ear infection-related hearing loss will almost always go away when the infection does.

Ear infections are not all the same, and can have different causes. While all ear infections can cause temporary hearing loss, the type of infection most associated with hearing loss is a middle ear infection.

Swimmer’s Ear is a type of outer ear infection that is most often caused by water getting trapped in the ear canal. This can give you the feeling that your head is in a box and cause sounds to be distorted or muted. Removing the fluid will usually resolve this type of ear infection quickly. Tilt your head or lay down on the affected side will often allow the water to run out on its own. Over-the-counter swimmer’s ear drops are also available at drug stores, and will also help to remove the moisture quickly and easily.  

Acute otitis media is a middle ear infection. These infections are painful and include ear canal inflammation. Fluid can sometimes build up behind the eardrum and result in temporary hearing loss on the affected side. This is a physical hearing loss, because the pent-up fluid is simply blocking the sound from entering the eardrum.  

Middle ear infections are commonly treated full hearing is reestablished after the infection is healed.

The Causes of Middle Ear Infections

Upper respiratory infections such as the common cold can prompt a middle ear infection. There is then inflammation and swelling in the Eustachian tube (which connects the middle ear with the throat). When there is inflammation in the Eustachian tube, it can’t balance pressure in the middle ear, and pain along with temporary hearing loss result.

Why Don’t Adults Get Ear Infections and Children Do?

Middle ear infections are more common in children than adults because children’s Eustachian tubes are less developed, making it more difficult for excess fluid to drain during an infection. A less-developed immune system in children can also contribute to the increased frequency of all kinds of infection.  

Ear Infection Symptoms

Small children and infants cannot express clearly the type of pain they are experiencing, or the exact location of pain. Here are some ways to recognize if your child has an ear infection:

  • Not responding to sounds or voices
  • Pulling at their ears
  • Fluids draining from the ear
  • An elevated temperature
  • Crankiness

Even in adults and older children an ear infection may be difficult to recognize. Here are some symptoms:

  • Ear pressure
  • A muted or blocked feeling, causing difficulty understanding speech
  • Feeling dizzy or off-balance
  • Pain in or around the ear
  • Vomiting or nausea

If your child gets recurring ear infections, it is possible for permanent hearing loss to occur. Visit your audiologist to weight the options.  

Ear Infection Treatment

Ear infections usually resolve themselves within a few days. Keep your child or yourself comfortable and treat with liquids and rest.

Check your child’s hearing often to catch any hearing loss as early you can, because permanent hearing loss is irreversible. To schedule an appointment for a quick, easy hearing evaluation, contact us today!

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.