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.

FIVE SHOCKING LINKS TO HEARING DAMAGE

Most of us understand the most commonly-known causes of hearing loss: loud noises, excessive ear wax, aging… but there are some other causes of hearing loss you may not have known about. Here are five links to hearing loss that you may not have expected.

Medical Drugs: Antibiotics and Over-the-Counter

Ototoxic drugs, such as NSAIDS (anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin) as well as some antibiotics, have been known to cause damage to the inner ear cells for quite some time. This damage can be temporary or permanent, and other symptoms of ototoxic medications are vertigo, dizziness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Doctors first noticed the phenomenon of ototoxicity with the development of the antibiotic streptomycin, used to treat tuberculosis. While it often cured patients of the disease, they were left with irreversible hearing loss as a result. Since then, hearing loss has been a common side effect of the aminoglycoside class of antibiotics.

Stress

Everyone knows that chronic stress can cause health problems, and now we know that stress can even affect hearing! Since hearing loss can be caused by various health issues, many of which can be caused by stress (high blood pressure, heart disease, etc), it follows that stress can be a cause of hearing loss as well. It becomes a vicious cycle: stress leads to sickness, which leads to more stress, more sickness hearing loss, more stress….

Obesity

Like stress, obesity can cause a host of health issues, many of which are connected to hearing damage in one form or another. Researchers have found a correlation between higher waist circumference and the likelihood of hearing problems. They think that extra weight can put strain on the delicate capillaries all over the body, and which the inner ear relies on for good hearing. When the delicate hair cells of the inner ear do not receive enough blood flow and oxygen, they can die, causing irreversible hearing loss.

Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association estimated that in 2012 30 million people had diabetes, and another 86 million were pre-diabetic with high blood glucose numbers. Diabetics are twice as likely as non-diabetics to have hearing loss, so this can be a cause for concern on a number of levels. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, don’t forget to have an annual hearing screening to catch any issues early on. You can also protect your hearing by staying away from very loud noises and turning down the volume on your music.

Heart Disease

Since heart disease can cause changes in blood flow to all parts of the body, the small capillaries can be most affected. The capillaries of the inner ear provide vital oxygen and blood flow to the delicate inner ear hair cells, and these cells can die if they do not get enough oxygen. These hair cells serve to communicate information from outward sounds to the brain, and once they die they do not regenerate, so this causes permanent hearing damage.

Just a few more reasons to take care of your overall health—it can affect everything—including hearing health!

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.

TWO LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU BETTER

 San Mateo

88 N. San Mateo Drive
San Mateo, California, 94401

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com 

San Carlos

1008 Laurel Street
San Carlos, California, 94070

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com

WHAT IS VERTIGO AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

Though there are different types of Vertigo, they are all caused by issues with the inner ear.

One type is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, which can be caused by a build-up of small particles of calcium in the inner ear. Another cause can be Vestibular neuritis, which is an infection in the nerves of the inner ear. Meniere’s disease can also be the culprit, causing fluid retention in the inner ear. Vertigo is marked by a dizziness that will not abate. You may feel off-balance or like you are spinning, or even that everything else is moving. This can give you the feeling of being pulled in one direction and can make it difficult to keep your balance.

Dizziness is the most common symptom of Vertigo, but did you know there are other symptoms as well?

Symptoms and Side Effects of Vertigo

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is another common symptom that can accompany Vertigo. At first the ringing or buzzing sounds may only be in conjunction with episodes of Vertigo, but some people experience an escalation as the noise becomes more intense and continual.

Migraines can be a symptom of Vertigo, and they can be caused by fluid or calcium particle build-up in the inner ear.

Nausea can also accompany Vertigo (as well as migraines), as you feel off-balance or as if you are spinning. In severe cases, vomiting can result.

Eye twitching, also called nystagmus, can be a symptom of Vertigo. Stress and fatigue can cause the eyelid muscles to spasm for hours or even days. Rest will most often relieve this symptom.

Hearing loss may follow episodes of Vertigo, especially if it is caused by Meniere’s disease. Low-frequency, progressive hearing loss in a single ear is commonly experienced in these cases. Additionally you may find your hearing loses quality: becoming tinny or even experiencing pain with loud noises. Ultimately if progression continues, deafness in one ear can result.

Panic Attacks can occur as a result of anxiety from not knowing when the next episode of Vertigo will occur.

Sweating is a common side effect of Vertigo as well. Vertigo attacks can cause sweating because they often cause panic, which results in sweating, as well as chills.

Fatigue can also be a result of Vertigo, because the state of feeling constantly unbalanced can be physically exhausting. The uncertainty of when an episode may occur can also cause worry and mental stress that can make a person tired.

Ear pressure, or a feeling of “fullness” inside of the ear, also called Aural Fullness, can be caused by barometric shifts and be an accompanying sign of Vertigo. This can sometimes be triggered by pressure changes, such as when ascending or descending in an airplane.

Vertigo is often temporary, but if there is an underlying condition that is causing it, that should be addressed to resolve or alleviate the issue. Seeing your doctor to determine the cause is necessary to know what treatment is needed. A visit to your audiologist for a hearing screening is also important to ensure your hearing is not affected.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.