If you’ve ever experienced dizziness, you know how unsettling and disorienting it can be. Dizziness can have a range of causes, but studies show that people with hearing loss are more likely to experience dizziness than those with normal hearing.
So, can hearing loss cause dizziness? The short answer is yes, but the relationship between the two is complex. Let’s explore the link between hearing loss and dizziness and what you can do to manage these symptoms.
What is dizziness anyway?
Dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness or unsteadiness sometimes caused by inner ear problems, medications, or low blood pressure. Dizziness can take many forms, including vertigo, lightheadedness, and disequilibrium — each of which feels slightly different for the person experiencing it.
Vertigo is the sensation of spinning or whirling, while lightheadedness is a feeling of faintness or a sense of being about to pass out. Disequilibrium refers to a feeling of unsteadiness or imbalance like the floor is moving under your feet.
In addition to inner ear disorders — which is what we see most often in our practices — dizziness can be a side effect of some medications, including antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, and antidepressants. Neurological conditions, such as migraines and multiple sclerosis, can also cause dizziness and may be associated with hearing loss, too.
Understanding the link between hearing loss and dizziness
Patients can experience dizziness because of inner ear issues that also cause hearing loss. The inner ear is responsible for both hearing and balance and can be affected by a variety of conditions that contribute to hearing loss, such as Meniere’s disease or acoustic neuroma.
Hearing and balance are closely connected, as both rely on the vestibular system, which is responsible for sensing movement, position, and spatial orientation. The inner ear contains two main structures responsible for hearing and balance: the cochlea and the vestibular system. The cochlea is responsible for hearing, while the vestibular system helps us maintain our balance and sense our orientation in space. Damage or dysfunction to either of these structures can cause hearing loss and dizziness.
Although they don’t always go hand in hand, identifying a connection between hearing loss and dizziness is important for understanding how to best treat your symptoms and address the source of your dizziness from the beginning.
Symptoms of dizziness caused by hearing loss
If your dizziness is caused by hearing loss or another inner ear issue, you may experience a range of symptoms, including:
- Feeling unsteady or off-balance
- Feeling like the room is spinning or moving
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Tips for managing your dizziness
If you’re experiencing dizziness caused by hearing loss, there are several things you can do to manage your symptoms:
- Visit a hearing care provider to have your hearing evaluated and determine if hearing aids could help improve your balance
- Ask about vestibular rehabilitation therapy to improve your balance and reduce dizziness
- Avoid sudden movements that could exacerbate your dizziness
- Consider lifestyle changes, like reducing caffeine and alcohol intake and increasing your nightly sleep quantity
Can dizziness be prevented?
While not all cases of dizziness can be prevented or treated, those cases caused by an inner ear issue or hearing loss can often be helped under the care of a hearing care professional. Here are some of the ways you can prevent dizziness caused by your hearing:
- Treat the underlying cause: This may involve seeking medical treatment for conditions like ear infections, acoustic neuromas, or Meniere’s disease.
- Use hearing aids: For those with hearing loss, using hearing aids can be a great way to prevent dizziness. When you are able to hear better, your brain does not have to work as hard to process sound, reducing the risk of vertigo or dizziness.
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can lead to a drop in blood pressure, which can cause dizziness. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent this from happening.
- Avoid sudden head movements: Sudden head movements can cause dizziness, especially in those with hearing loss. Be mindful of how you move your head and try to avoid sudden or jerky movements.
- Manage stress: Stress can cause a variety of physical symptoms, including dizziness. Practicing stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce stress and prevent dizziness.
By following these tips, you can help prevent dizziness caused by hearing loss and improve your overall quality of life.
Should I see a doctor about dizziness?
If you are experiencing dizziness and hearing loss, it is important to see a healthcare professional — like the team at Beltone Tristate — who can help determine the underlying cause and recommend the appropriate treatment.
In some cases, treating the hearing loss may help alleviate dizziness symptoms. In other cases, specific treatment for the inner ear disorder or neurological condition may be necessary. It is essential to seek professional help to get an accurate diagnosis and to prevent any complications.
If you’re ready to take control of your hearing loss or are experiencing dizziness, our team at Beltone Tristate is ready to help test and diagnose your symptoms to get you on the road to better hearing. Schedule your free hearing test today!