What Do Your Ears Have to Do with Balance?

2021-05-20 | Balance, Patient Resources

Hearing problems can be related to many conditions other than just hearing loss. Cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease are also issues that can develop if your ears are neglected.

Even dizziness and vertigo can present themselves if left untreated, so we want to do everything we can to take good care of your ears both inside and out.

Our ears do more for us than just hear. They are also directly related to how we balance ourselves. Let me show you how.

The Structure of Your Ear

The Structure of Your Ear

On a basic level, your ear is composed of three different parts. The outer, middle, and inner ear.

  • The inner ear is where the cochlea and the vestibular system are located. The vestibular system is made up of a network of looped tubes and this is where your balance is maintained. It functions similar to that of a carpenter’s level.
  • The middle ear is an air-filled space located in the skull. Air pressure is equalized in this space via a tube that drains into the back of the throat and nose. Three little bones are attached like a chain and convert sound waves that vibrate into mechanical vibrations.
  • The outer ear is made up of the ear lobe and external ear canal. Both are used to funnel sound into the ear.

The vestibular system detects movement through special sensory cells that are activated as you move your head.

This system is very sensitive to small movements. If you make large, fast, or prolonged movements (e.g., spinning around on the spot), they can take a while to settle down afterward. Therefore, the room can appear to continue spinning even though you have stopped spinning.

Conditions Associated with Balance

There are multiple disorders that can cause disruptions in our hearing and balance. Dizziness is the most common and can be a symptom of other conditions that are present in your ear.

  • Meniere’s disease is one example of a disorder that is defined by the dizziness you are experiencing and the type of hearing loss that you may have. A patient with Meniere’s disease can experience dizziness anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.
  • Semi-circular Canal Dehiscence is another disorder that can be accompanied by hearing loss. A patient with SCCD means that one of the little bones in the middle part of the ear has a hole in it. Minor surgery is required to correct this condition.

How You Can Prevent This

Regular checkups are your first line of defense when trying to prevent these disorders and any others. Our team of hearing & balance experts can diagnose and treat any of these conditions – but we would much rather help you prevent them.

For us to do that, we recommend coming in for a comprehensive hearing assessment regularly. Even if you don’t have any issues, registering a test now provides us with a benchmark to indicate exactly how good your hearing can be.

Keep your hearing. Keep your balance.


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Dr. JJ Martinez, AuD, FAAA

J.J. was born in Wichita, KS, and was brought up in a Marine Corps family. Following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the Marine Corps after high school and was stationed in Camp Lejeune, NC. After going to college at Southeastern Louisiana University, he went to graduate school and got his doctorate degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans, LA. Soon after, he started his career in audiology and became board certified in Audiology.


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