Hearing & Balance
Hearing and balance problems are often inter-related conditions, as part of the inner ear (known as the labyrinth) interacts with other body systems like the eyes, bones and joints to maintain balance. Problems within the vestibular (ear) system can cause balance problems, which affect over 2 million people each year.
A balance disorder is a complex condition that causes feelings of unsteadiness, wooziness and sensations of spinning, moving or floating. Some of the most common balance disorders include:
- Labyrinthitis – dizziness and loss of balance caused by an infection or inflammation of the inner ear
- Meniere’s disease – vertigo, hearing loss and ringing in the ears caused by an inner ear fluid imbalance
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo – feelings of vertigo after specific position changes of the head
- Vestibular neuronitis – vestibular nerve infection
Treatment for hearing and balance disorders involves treating the underlying cause of the condition, which may be done through hearing aids, ear tubes, surgery or other treatments. For others, balance training exercises and lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms. Surgery may be recommended for patients whose symptoms cannot be controlled by more conservative methods. Managing these complex conditions requires staying informed and working together with your doctor in order to receive effective treatment.