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Dizziness and Hearing Loss - The reasons, causes and treatments

By: Paul Harrison Updated: 7th July 2022 in: Hearing Loss Awareness, Latest News, Articles
Dizziness and Hearing Loss

Dizziness and Hearing Loss

Balance and hearing links

 

Dizziness is common

Dizziness is a common reason people see their GP.  If you are feeling dizzy, it is important that you seek medical help quickly to be evaluated.  Dizziness can be due to various conditions and illnesses but is usually caused when the connection between the eyes, inner ear and the brain is damaged. 

As well as looking into the reasons, causes and treatments - we will be focusing on the inner ear, hearing loss and dizziness in this article.

 

What is dizziness? - The body's balance system explained

Although dizziness can take many forms, it is always when there is a disturbance to your sense of balance.  The symptoms of dizziness can be unsteadiness, disorientation, spinning, nausea and feeling light-headed.  But how and why does this happen?

Inside your ears, there are three small semi-circular canals containing both fluid and crystals - known as endolymphs and otoliths.  These crystals move and float in the fluid mirroring your body's angular position.  

There are two other semi-circular structures called the utricle and saccule, which recognise horizontal and vertical movements of your body.  Combined, are your balance organ that assists your body in understanding when you are going up, down, left, right, forward and backward, as well as touch and sight.

Your balance organ synchronises with your muscles, joints and eyesight to give you a sense of balance and orientation within your surroundings.  This is called the vestibular system.  This system relies on the maze of tissue and bone in the inner ear, which is where the cochlea and hearing nerve is located.

 

What triggers dizziness

Dizziness is not a disease but more a symptom of a much bigger problem.  There are many triggers for dizziness such as side effects of medication, a bumpy car journey and motion sickness.  There are also different variations of dizziness.  These are:

  • Vertigo (fake sense of motion).
  • Disequilibrium (a general 'wobbly' feeling).
  • Light-headedness.
  • Presyncope (feeling as though you are about to black out or faint).

 

Inner ear dizziness

Dizziness is generally caused by a problem with your inner ear, problematic blood circulation, a pressure of fluid or nerves in the inner ear.  For example, after a cold, your ears can become inflamed or swollen  This can result in bouts of dizziness.

 

Dizziness and ringing in the ears

There are various disorders that affect the inner ears which can result in tinnitus (or ringing of the ears) as well as dizziness.  This could also be Meniere's disease and, in some rare cases, acoustic neuromas.

This can feel like a spinning sensation, commonly known as vertigo, together with light-headedness which may persist or come and go.  It may feel stronger when your head moves or when there are sudden movements in your body.  There may also be nausea, however Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (or BPPV) has no other symptoms other than dizziness.

 

dizziness and hearing loss

Dizziness and Hearing Loss

Are hearing loss and dizziness related?

 

What can cause dizziness and hearing loss?

Balance and hearing are linked, as they share a pathway to the brain, and this is why there are many medical conditions that contribute to the causes of dizziness and hearing loss.  Such as severe allergic reactions, side effects of medication, circulatory conditions and viral and bacterial infections of the inner ear. 

Your ears oversee more than just hearing - they hold your vestibular system.  This is why hearing loss affects your ability to hear and understand speech, but it can also affect your balance and cause balance disorders.

If you are experiencing hearing loss combined with any of these symptoms, you must seek medical help from your GP.  If, when evaluated, you need hearing support they will refer you to an audiologist for a full hearing test and future solutions. 

Other

 

What is Meniere's disease?

Sometimes hearing loss and balance or dizziness aren't connected, and you might have Meniere's disease.  This is an ear condition that affects the vestibular system and the inner ear.   The inner ear and the Corti (part of the cochlea) fills with fluid and becomes swollen.  This then leads to dizziness, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in your ear.  The symptoms, like hearing loss, can range from mild to severe.

 

Need more support?

An audiologist can support you in diagnosing the cause of your hearing loss and/or dizziness and provide effective solutions to help you feel and hear better again.  Maintaining good hearing health will improve your overall mental, health and well-being in the future. 

This is why we advise that you regularly visit an audiologist even if it is just to check if your hearing has not deteriorated, which can often lead to temporary dizziness and vertigo.

If you think you might have hearing loss, or your hearing has worsened and need some impartial advice on hearing healthcare and hearing aids - please call us free on 0800 567 7621

 

 

Read Next:  How to get water out of your ears

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Paul Harrison
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This article was written by Paul Harrison - Audiology Expert

Meet Paul Harrison, Audiology Expert & Founder of Hearing Aid UK

Managing Director & founder of Hearing Aid UK, with over 20 years of audiology experience and a member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists Council (BSHAA) between 2015-2020.

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