Hearing Loss and Balance Problems

Maintaining both hearing and balance take place in the ear and our audiologists specialize in disorders related to both. That is one of the many reasons why ear health and hearing health is so important. But with tens of millions of Americans suffering from hearing loss, many elderly adults are also suffering from safety concerns such as falls from faltering balance due to problems within the vestibular system, but never make the connection. This month, we are celebrating Balance Awareness Week along with the Vestibular Disorders Association as they help people recognize the symptoms of a vestibular disorder so that they can seek help to receive an accurate diagnosis and get effective treatment. We are reaching out to our patients and also to the families of those who have not yet been diagnosed who may be one of the millions of people suffering from inner ear balance dysfunction.

Hearing loss is a common disorder among our elderly population. If you have an older family member, you will want to know how our audiologists can assist them in improving their hearing and improving their balance by performing hearing assessments and balance testing and provide them with an effective course of action. Both diminishing hearing and balance problems can become a safety concern for our aging population. It is also estimated that about 30-33% of deaf people may also have balance disorders since the two systems of hearing and balance are not working properly with one another. While hearing aids are a common service to improve hearing, our audiologists will work with a team of specialists to find out more information on each individual’s circumstances and create a plan to improve their quality of life.

According to the CDC, about 70% of people over the age of 70 experience problems with postural balance. One fall is all it may take to change their lives forever. As one audiologist explains, the whole auditory vestibular system must be assessed to determine where the balance problem is coming from. Many aging people with balance problems tend to become overmedicated and can be dizzy, adding even more danger to their everyday lives. Our audiologists will perform balance testing or VNG/ENG testing to determine whether vertigo or imbalance is due to a peripheral pathology, central pathology, or a combination of the two. This test is actually several assessments put together to measure eye movements to determine if vertigo is caused by central or peripheral pathology. Eye movement is measured using infrared cameras which can be found in goggles worn by the patient during the evaluation. To learn more about balance testing, contact one of our audiologists in Mesa or Scottsdale. Together, we can keep your aging loved one safer and healthier.

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