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Can Hearing Aids Effect Your Balance

Does wearing hearing aids help with balance?

A study of older people have shown that balance improves for those who have hearing aids. Hearing aids give people information about the sound of the ground, and help them to be aware of how their body is positioned in space.

Some people often tilt their head to one side or the other to hear better, but this can change how we stand and walk. This may cause problems with balance. Using hearing aids can help stabilize our bodies so that we're more stable when standing and walking without the constant need to compensate with our head position or posture.

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What part of the body controls balance?

The inner ear and brain are very important for balance. The inner ear contains the semicircular canals, which are filled with fluid. They are connected to the balance nerve (vestibulocochlear nerve) of the ear. That is why we are able to hear and balance at the same time.

When we are standing on a level ground, our body creates a feeling of being in an upright position by processing signals from both ears and from our eyes.

What is the relationship between hearing and balance?

Hearing loss is one of the main risk factors for falls in old age. The relationship between hearing and balance is multidimensional. Hearing aids help people to compensate for hearing loss, which helps them to stay upright with their body.

This also helps them to be more aware of their environment and the balance of their body. However, this may have other consequences as well, such as their ability to understand what other people say when they speak in a noisy environment or a hard-to-understand voice

Does hearing loss in one ear affect balance?

Hearing loss in one ear does not affect the balance as much as if there is hearing loss in both ears. In the outer ear, there are small hairs that help us to know which direction sound is coming from. One of the functions of these hairs is to let us know which direction our head should be turned so that we can better hear sounds from that side.

When we have a hearing loss in only one ear, this may cause us to turn our heads towards the stronger/better ear, and this may affect how we stand and walk. However, when hearing loss occurs on both ears at the same time, people tend to turn their whole body towards their best ear.

Why do I feel wobbly when I walk?

As we get older, our ability to see things in 3 dimensions decreases. We also have less of a perception of gravity, which means we may pay less attention to changes in our own center of gravity. This can make us more likely to fall over when standing on a level surface.

Also as we age, hearing and vision deteriorate too. In addition, because of the loss of muscle strength (atrophy), it becomes harder for people to stand up from a sitting position or support themselves on something if they are lying down.

Or you are drunk!

What neurological problems can cause dizziness?

There are several neurological problems can cause dizziness. These are:

  1.  Vestibular and cerebellar dizziness

    Vestibular dizziness is caused by problems with the inner ear and the nerve in the ear (vestibulocochlear nerve). For example, whiplash injury (a sudden neck movement), certain medication, or Ménière's disease (a disease of the inner ear) can cause it.

    Cerebellar dizziness is caused by problems in the cerebellum. The cerebellum works on fine motor skills. For example, whiplash injuries, or certain medications can cause it.

  2.  Visual impairment and peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes mellitus can cause balance problems.

  3.  Other balance problems may be caused by problems in the nervous system. These include stroke, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

What are the side effects of wearing hearing aids?

Hearing aids usually do not have immediate side effects, although some people complain about feeling tired or dizzy. The biggest complaints are about hearing loss and the earpiece that goes into the ear. Hearing loss can make it hard for people to interpret what is said in conversation and to understand other sounds.

Hearing aids can also affect balance and posture, and for some people this is uncomfortable. Sometimes the little earpiece can be moved by external forces and it may fall out of the ear.

If you feel shaky or dizzy while wearing hearing aids, it is important to let your doctor know about this and tell them what you want to do about it. Your doctor may recommend changes to the hearing aid or medicine.

How do you control balance problems?

Balance requires multitasking: the ability to stand for a long time on one foot, without slipping; slow walk without constantly trying to turn the body; and to pay attention to your feet while walking. With different problems, each of these requires different parts of the brain and peripheral nervous system.

How we walk can be affected by balance problems. If people have balance problems, they may start to compensate by leaning forward with their bodies. This means that they often end up falling forwards instead of backwards when they walk, or their knees may bend too much when they walk.

In this type of condition, it is hard to keep balance on both feet while walking steadily for long periods of time. This is called postural instability.

Do balance disorders go away?

Normally 1-2 weeks after a stroke or whiplash, the balance problems should have disappeared. While some people have balance problems for weeks or months after a stroke, they then seem to go away. It is not known why some people continue to have balance problems for many years, while other people recover more quickly.

What can I do to improve my balance?

If you don't have any serious injuries and are not taking any medicine that affects your balance, you can try:

  1. Standing on one foot as long as possible without holding onto anything. Do this two times daily for 2 minutes twice a day. This is a good exercise for people of all ages. For example, you can do it while you are waiting for the bus.
  2. When walking or standing, pay attention to your feet and try to feel how each foot touches the ground. If you have balance problems, try to walk on a soft carpet or grass instead of concrete. This will make it easier for you to control your feet when walking or standing still

  3. If you feel dizzy when sitting down after getting up from lying on your back, stand up slowly so that the blood can stay in your brain as much as possible before you start to walk.

  4. Walk with good posture. Do not lean forwards while walking. Hold your head and shoulders up, stand tall, and do not bend forward when you walk. This is called good posture. Good posture will help you to notice if you are about to fall over because it will often make you feel more stable.

  5. Before getting up from a sitting position on the floor or sitting in a car or chair for a long time, stand up slowly so that the blood can stay in your brain as much as possible before you start to walk. If this is hard for you, try this exercise: Stand up slowly but then sit down into a chair/car/etc again without standing upright again first.

Does walking help with balance?

Yes, walking helps with balance because it trains the brain to control the muscles that move the body. When you walk, your head needs to stay up all the time, and you have to move your legs at the right speed with each step. These actions require lots of communication between different parts of the nervous system. This can improve balance skills.

Balance problems can also be caused by a problem in the inner ear or nerve in this organ (vestibulocochlear nerve). The vestibulocochlear nerve is involved in balance, hearing and dizziness.

What factors have an effect on maintaining body equilibrium and balance?

When a person has a balance disorder, there are many factors that can affect the process of return to normal balance.

  1. We know from studies on animals that it is important to use the parts of the brain that control balance and posture at every age, not just while you are young, when your nervous system is still developing. Many different genes have an influence on how well you can maintain your body equilibrium and balance as you get older. If some of these genes change, it may make it harder for you to maintain your balance or posture.

  2. It is also important to use the parts of the brain that control balance and posture when you are injured. Many different parts of the nervous system are involved in these processes. If some of these parts aren't used while you are injured, it may make it harder for you to maintain your balance or posture when you get better.

  3. If someone has had a stroke, that stroke will sometimes cause other things in their body to change, for example because of pain that they feel in their neck muscles and joints. The way ahead then gets harder because it is not only about blood flow but the brain finding ways to get around the problems caused by pain.

What medications can cause loss of balance?

Some medicines can make you less able to balance on your feet, even if you don't fall over or feel dizzy. Examples of these include:

  1.  Medicines for pain and fever (e.g., ibuprofen)

  2.  Antidepressants that affect sleep and heart rhythm – these can make it harder for the brain to control your body's muscles, especially if you have balance problems before taking the drugs!

  3.  Anti-Parkinson's medications - these can cause loss of balance by changing things in the brain and nervous system. This is because Parkinson's disease is a very common condition (it affects about 1 in 100 people).

  4.  Medicines for epilepsy and epilepsy related conditions. There is a small risk of loss of balance when you have a seizure. If you are on such a medicine, it is good to tell your doctor if you have balance problems so they can find out if your balance has changed.

  5.  Medicines that affect the nervous system can also sometimes make people dizzy or less able to maintain their balance. The same medicines may cause excess sweating in some people but not in others. This is because different people react in different ways to these medicines. Sometimes it may take one medicine before another medicine starts to cause symptoms, so that it can be difficult for your doctor to know what is causing your dizziness or loss of balance.

Noises 

The following infographic shows a list of the various noises when you are out and about. Any noise over 70-80db over a long period of time may cause damage to your hearing. A noise of over 120dB may cause immediate harm to your ears

hearing infographic 15

Should I sleep if dizzy?

Dizziness can happen because of a problem with your balance or it can be caused by other things (see above). If you have dizziness because of a problem with your body, then you will need to see your doctor to make sure that there is no serious underlying problem.

If the dizziness is caused by other factors, such as medicines or ear problems, then you should probably sleep when you are dizzy. However, if the dizziness has been going on for long periods or causes a lot of trouble, then sometimes it may be better not to sleep. This depends on how well the brain and nervous system are working.

What can you eat to help with dizziness?

If you want to help with dizziness caused by a problem with your brain or nervous system, then you should ask your doctor what foods are best for you. It might be helpful to eat a diet that is high in:

  1. Vitamin B12, which is found in meat and fish
  2. Zinc, which is found in chicken and lamb
  3. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish (e.g., sardines, trout, herring)
  4. Alcohol – this is a factor in some cases of loss of balance. The amount of alcohol that people can drink without having problems varies from person to person. The same is true for caffeine and other stimulants (e.g., cigarettes, coffee, tea). It is very important to talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of these medicines if you are using them. It is also important to know that some natural remedies can cause dizziness. These may include Gingko Biloba, Gingko Leaf Extracts (Gingko Extract), Ginkgo Leaf Extract Powder and Herbal Mint Tea.

How long does it take to recover from dizziness?

How quickly a person recovers from dizziness depends on the cause of the dizziness. Recovery from many balance disorders takes some time because:

  1. Balance problems are caused by problems with the nervous system. Therefore it probably takes some time for these problems to heal or for your nervous system to find ways to work around them.
  2. Recovery from balance problems may be slower than recovery from other parts of your body. For example, a broken leg or an arm can heal faster than some of the brain problems that cause dizziness.
  3. If you have dizziness because of a condition that is getting worse, such as Parkinson's disease, it may take longer to get better because it is getting harder for the brain to control your muscles. During this time it is important to keep doing things in order to maintain your balance and posture (see above).

At what age does your balance decline?

A balance problem or loss of balance is sometimes called “the silent thief of age” because it easily goes unnoticed. However, it is not a normal part of aging – it is caused by something else. As you get older, your body loses some of the ability to help yourself balance.

For example, your joints and muscles can’t change position as fast as they used to. In addition, there are changes in the brain and nervous system that make it harder for it to control how well you can keep your posture or balance on your feet. It is not clear whether or not these changes are a normal part of aging or if they are caused by other things such as diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension).

What is the best exercise for balance?

The best exercise for maintaining your balance is to keep moving around. This is especially true for people with Parkinson's disease, which is a common condition (it affects about 1 in 100 people). There are four ways to keep moving:

  1. Walking or running – it is best to avoid areas where cars drive fast because crashes can lead to more serious problems. Try to find a quiet area where there aren't a lot of other people or things moving around you. You may also want to walk with someone else so you can get help if you are not able to continue walking on your own. A cane, walker or two crutches placed close together under your arms as shown can help you as well.
  2. Swimming – it is best to start with a pool that has a shallow bottom and move slowly. You can also try water aerobics classes, which are offered at many health clubs, community centers, or even pools. It is important to move forward in the water all of the time. Even when you are just practicing, you should put both of your arms in front of you (like starting a race) as this will help you stay balanced. It is better to use goggles and fins instead of shoes that have soles and heels because they allow you to use your arms (and legs) more easily for balance.
  3. Aerobics classes – there are many types of exercises that help people keep their balance, such as walking, marching, dancing and swimming. It is best to start these classes slowly and to avoid “high-impact” activities until you are used to the exercises. It is also helpful to find a class that is small (not more than 15 people) where you will be able to ask questions or get help if you need it. If someone yells “now!” you should jump on one foot.
  4. Yoga – exercises in yoga may be good for keeping your balance because they require slow movement of many muscles in unison, with the help of gravity.
  5. Golf – this is a good sport for keeping your balance because you move around the course as if on a walking path. If you hit it straight it should stay in one place, so that you can keep your balance. Other sports that may also help with balance are skiing and roller skating.

Conclusion

If you have balance problems caused by a problem with your nervous system or brain, then the best treatment is exercise that can help you keep your balance. It is also helpful to follow a good diet, because the best foods for helping with dizziness include some foods high in vitamin B12 (calf liver), zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Your doctor can recommend exercises that will be most helpful – remember to start slowly.

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Other Questions

How do you clean swimming ear plugs?

Using foam earplugs, the best thing to do is to fill a bowl with cleaning solution – hydrogen peroxide is recommended by many audiologists. To clean, just add the ear plugs into the cleaning solution for a few minutes, then wipe them.

How often should you clean ear plugs?

Ideally, every time that you want to use the earplugs. After we have used them, there will be ear dirt on them. Cleaning using the above method works well.

Can earplugs cause permanent tinnitus?

This is not the case. It may sound like having tinnitus after using the earplugs, as there will be blockages in the ear from swimming. This is not permanent and will soon disappear

Author: Nick

Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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