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Balance Awareness Week – How Can Ear Problems Affect Your Balance?

For most people, balance stops being a problem after they get past toddler age, but a simple vestibular problem can lead to feelings of vertigo and loss of balance. The word vestibular refers to the inner ear, which, along with the brain, controls your sense of balance. A feeling of being on a rocking boat, that unpleasant sensation of looking down from a great height, or feeling as if everything around you is spinning, are all signs of inner ear imbalance.

This Balance Awareness Week, we take a closer look at inner ear conditions that can affect your balance and how to manage them effectively. 

Inner ear conditions that can affect your balance

There are 2 main conditions that affect the inner ear and balance: labyrinthitis and Meniere’s disease. Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve in the inner ear. Tinnitus and hearing loss are 2 common symptoms, as well as a loss of balance and feelings of vertigo. Labyrinthitis is usually caused by a virus or infection and can be treated with medication.

Meniere’s disease is a much longer-term condition that is progressive. The cause of it is currently unknown and treatment focuses on managing the symptoms in various ways. Like labyrinthitis, Meniere’s disease can cause attacks of vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss. Different people can be affected differently, some feeling certain symptoms more than others, but unpredictable attacks of vertigo or dizziness are often the first sign of the disease. 

When to seek help

A single attack of vertigo might easily be ignored, perhaps even if it happens a couple of times. But signs of inner ear imbalance that won’t go away, such as dizziness, vertigo or tinnitus, should always be investigated. In stage one of Meniere’s disease, the attacks of vertigo may be intermittent and may last for minutes or hours. Something to watch out for is a hearing loss at the same time as the vertigo attack or a feeling of fullness in the ear. If any of these signs are experienced it’s best to get it checked out. 

How a hearing clinic can help

While labyrinthitis is a short-lived problem and unlikely to affect your hearing in the long term, Meniere’s disease is likely to cause permanent hearing loss in stage 2 of the disease, and this is where a hearing clinic comes in. Hearing aids are an option for treatment and at London Hearing Specialist, our audiologist can provide advanced and affordable hearing aids in London from the world renowned Swiss manufacturer, Phonak. 

While loss of hearing is an upsetting condition that can have a profound effect on your life, the wide range of hearing aids available now can make it much easier to manage. Discreet, and sometimes even invisible, with a range of special features, hearing aids in London no longer carry the stigma they used to. Book a consultation with us at London Hearing Specialist to find out more about your options.