How Is Dizziness Linked to Hearing?

Posted in: Hearing News  |  March 6, 2012 
How Is Dizziness Linked to Hearing?

If dizziness is affecting your life, then it’s time for a hearing exam – if you haven’t had one already. In many cases, dizziness, including vertigo (a whirling sensation accompanied by a loss of balance) is related to disorders of the inner ear. Even if you haven’t noticed changes in your hearing, a recurring dizzy sensation can be linked to hearing problems that might be too subtle to notice without a doctor’s attention.

The ear is the only organ in the body that controls two senses – hearing and balance – and accordingly, a single problem with the inner ear can both limit a person’s ability to process sounds and cause dizziness.

The inner ear regulates hearing through the cochlea, and it handles balance through the vestibular system. Both contain hair cells and two fluids called endolymph and perilymph.

When the vestibular system suffers nerve or structural damage, then even slight changes in movement or head positioning can be enough to cause the disorientation, poor balance, nausea and vomiting that can be associated with vertigo.

Although dizziness can have numerous causes, some unrelated to the inner ear, these health problems are common culprits.

  • Inner ear inflammation: This condition, also called acute vestibular neuritis, brings intense, potentially incapacitating vertigo that can last for a few days and be accompanied by vomiting. Typically, the inflammation goes away without treatment.
  • Acoustic neuroma: This type of benign growth appears on the vestibular nerve, which connects the brain and inner ear. Those with this condition often note tinnitus (ringing of the ears) in one side, as well as imbalance, dizziness and progressive hearing loss.
  • Meniere’s disease: An uncommon disease, this condition involves substantial fluid buildup in the inner ear. Those with Meniere’s disease often report sudden bouts of vertigo that last anywhere from a half-hour to several hours.

If you suffer from dizziness, then be sure to consult a medical professional for advice. We’d be happy to schedule a hearing evaluation to determine if an inner ear condition could be the cause of your trouble – as well as to offer advice for treatment or management of the problem.