Hearing loss affects more than just your ability to hear sounds. If you have hearing loss, you’ll soon notice that it affects your relationships with friends and loved ones, and you struggle to follow conversations. You don’t accomplish tasks as quickly as you used to, and sometimes you’re concerned for your safety when you don’t hear important warning sounds in the environment. Your ears are complex structures, and do more than help you hear. They allow you to localize sounds, and play a big role in your sense of balance.
The Balance System
Both hearing and vision play critical role in keeping your balanced. If you can’t see, or struggle to hear, your balance will be affected. Studies show that those who have an ear injury like a damaged ear drum, suffer from immediate loss of balance, and report feeling very unsteady on their feet. Each of the ears are filled with fluid, and as this fluid moves, either from moving your body or moving your head, the brain receives signals about this movement. The brain is also receiving information from the muscles, and all this information allows you to determine if you are moving, how much you’re moving, or if the environment around you is moving.
Studying Balance and Hearing Loss
A recent study at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis took a long look at the relationship between balance and hearing loss. They studied a group of seniors with hearing loss, and gave them several balancing tests to perform with and without their hearing aids. These tests included balancing on a foam pad with their eyes covered, and standing on the floor with one foot in front of the other.
When the hearing aids were turned off, participants complained about feeling disoriented or dizzy, and weren’t able to balance well. With the hearing aids turned on, participants felt aware and alert, and were able to balance far longer than when the hearing aids were turned off. Researchers think that wearing hearing aids will improve balance when walking, sitting, or working, and should be worn at all times.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
Hearing aids can improve balance by allowing you to hear far more of the sounds in your environment. The brain can get a better spatial picture and recognize auditory cues. Unlike vision, which can only take in information in front of you, sounds reach you from all sides, so your sense of hearing is vitally important for your sense of your surroundings. Hearing clearly allows for better understanding of your environment, and you’re less likely to be taken by surprise by something or someone in your surroundings. This awareness also improves your balance, and those with hearing aids have far few trips, slips, falls, and accidents than those with untreated hearing loss. Not only that, but having a clear sense of your environment provides a feeling of safety, and you’ll be able to focus your attention on other tasks. You won’t suffer from anxiety or fear, or time worrying about your surroundings.
Treating Hearing Loss
If you or someone you love is struggling to hear, it’s time to treat your hearing loss. Hearing aids will help you hear clearly in quiet and in noise, and you’ll never miss the punchline in your friend’s jokes. You’ll be able to focus on tasks, get your work done quickly and effectively, and have time and energy to invest in the relationships you value the most. Along with hearing clearly and following conversations, treating hearing loss will improve your sense of balance and spatial awareness, reducing your risk of injury, and giving you a sense of safety. You’ll enjoy improved quality of life, and won’t need to worry about falling.
My Hearing Centers
At My Hearing Centers, we have the perfect devices to suit your unique hearing needs. If you’ve been struggling with balance, are worried for your safety, and are ready to get back to hearing, visit us today and speak to our team of dedicated hearing health specialists. We’ll work together to find the hearing aids that will match your lifestyle and hearing needs, providing you with clear hearing and great balance each and every day.