How Are Hearing Loss & Vertigo Linked? - Attune
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How Are Hearing Loss & Vertigo Linked?

hearing loss and vertigo

Hearing loss impacts many different things in your life, from reducing your capability to participate in conversations to social isolation and frustration. 

Among other things, hearing loss is also one of the causes of vertigo. 

Today, we will discuss what hearing loss is, the different types of hearing loss, what vertigo is and hearing loss and vertigo are linked. 

What is Hearing Loss? 

Hearing loss is the total or significant loss of hearing, usually the result of inner ear or nerve damage. 

Hearing loss may be caused by a congenital disability, injury, disease, specific medication, exposure to loud noise or age-related wear and tear. 

There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive and mixed. 

Sensorineural hearing loss 

This type of hearing loss is permanent and occurs when there is damage to the structures in your inner ear or auditory nerve. 

Sensorineural hearing loss can occur in one or both ears depending on the cause, which can be exposure to loud noise, genetic factors or the natural ageing process. 

This type of hearing loss can lead to

  • Trouble hearing in environments with background noise 
  • Particular difficulty understanding high-pitched voices, such as children and women
  • Sounds and voices that seem muffled 
  • Tinnitus 
  • Vertigo

Conductive hearing loss 

This type of hearing loss can be temporary or permanent and occurs when there’s an obstruction or damage to the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. 

Because the inner ear and auditory nerve aren’t damaged, an individual with conductive hearing loss has difficulty with the loudness of sounds, but not the clarity. Most people with conductive hearing loss find that turning up the volume is all that it takes to improve their hearing.

This type of hearing loss can lead to

  • Pain in one or both ears
  • The sensation of pressure in one or both ears
  • A foul odour coming from the ear canal 
  • The feeling that one’s own voice is louder or different 

Mixed hearing loss

This type of hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. 

 

hearing loss and vertigo

What is Vertigo? 

Vertigo is a sudden spinning sensation often triggered by moving your head too quickly, but it can also result from hearing loss, among other things. 

Types of vertigo 

There are two types of vertigo: peripheral and central

  1. Peripheral Vertigo: This is the most common type of vertigo and occurs due to a problem in the inner ear or vestibular nerve, which controls balance. 
  2. Central Vertigo: This type of vertigo occurs as a result of a problem in the brain. 

Causes of vertigo 

There are a number of syndromes or conditions that can cause each type of vertigo, including

 

Peripheral Vertigo Central Vertigo 
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BBPV): A change in your head’s position.
  • Migraine
  • Hyperventilation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Meniere’s Disease: A condition that causes fluids to build up inside the ear.
  • Stroke
  • Head injuries
  • Labyrinthitis: When the inner ear labyrinth becomes inflamed or infected.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Brain disease
  • Vestibular Neuritis: Inflammation of the vestibular nerve.
  • Arrhythmia
  • Cholesteatoma: Repeated ear infections which cause non-cancerous skin growth to develop in the ear. 

hearing loss and vertigo

Symptoms of vertigo 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Balance problems
  • Tinnitus 
  • Headaches 
  • Motion sickness
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Nystagmus (when the eyes move side to side uncontrollably) 

How are hearing loss and vertigo linked? 

Our balance system relies on the labyrinth, a maze of bone and tissue in the inner ear. In the labyrinth is the cochlea, where the hearing nerve is located. Near the cochlea are semicircular canals and the otolithic organs responsible for our sense of balance. This is where our body, along with our sight and touch, senses movement. 

As mentioned above, there are many causes of vertigo or balance problems, but it’s known that hearing loss can lead to balance disorders. 

Problems with the inner ear that can be responsible for hearing loss can also lead to dizziness and vertigo, such as labyrinthitis and Meniere’s Disease. 

Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that occurs when the labyrinth becomes swollen and inflamed. 

Meniere’s Disease occurs when there is heightened pressure within the labyrinth. 

However, hearing loss and vertigo don’t always go together. You can have hearing loss without ever experiencing a problem with your balance, or you could have vertigo without hearing loss. It’s important that if you have hearing loss resulting from a head or ear injury, seek immediate attention so you don’t have additional problems with balance or vertigo in the future. 

If you are experiencing sudden hearing loss and having problems with your balance or dizziness, you could have Meniere’s Disease

Get Your Hearing Checked 

If you are experiencing vertigo but aren’t sure what has caused it, getting your hearing checked may be the solution. 

At Attune Hearing, we provide comprehensive hearing assessments where you will find out if you have hearing loss and the severity of it, and whether or not it’s causing your vertigo. 

Book a hearing test online or call us today on 1300 736 702. 

Enquire now