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Are Balance Problems And Hearing Loss Related?

Have you ever experienced an episode of dizziness or had problems with balance? If so, you are not alone. It’s estimated that up to 4 in 10 people visit a doctor about these unpleasant, and sometimes debilitating, issues.

Balance relies upon our eyes, our ability to move our body (proprioception) and also the complex vestibular system of the inner ear. With this in mind, let’s explore how hearing loss relates to balance and dizziness.

How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Balance?

Balance disorders can be caused by a number of things, such as a head injury, low blood pressure, an ear infection, arthritis, medication and more. Similarly, hearing loss can also have many different causes.

“But what connects the two conditions?”

Hearing loss on its own does not cause balance disorders. Problems in the inner ear, which is responsible for the vestibular and hearing system, may cause balance problems. What this means, is that hearing loss can happen at the same time as balance problems, and could be indicative of an underlying condition.

The vestibular system provides the brain with information about spatial awareness, motion and head position. It is involved in the associated motor functions to keep us balanced. This sensory system consists of a small, complex and delicate structure called the labyrinth within the inner ear. Known as the balance center of the inner ear, one of its parts is the cochlear, which we know plays an important role in our hearing.

Essentially, a disorder that affects the vestibular system will affect balance and that disorder could be related to a hearing loss. It is not, however, the hearing loss itself that causes a balance or dizziness condition.

Common Balance Disorders

Being aware of these conditions will help you understand the importance of seeking professional help when necessary.

  • Age related – Age related balance disorders may potentially be due to a combination of deteriorating eyesight, muscle tone and the aging of the vestibular system of the inner ear. Treatment is often vestibular rehab.
  • Migraine related vertigo – Balance disorders from migraines can occur before, during or after a migraine. Treatments include medication and diet adaptations.
  • BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) – Causes severe but short lasting episodes of a spinning sensation. It is the result of an inner ear problem that is caused by false movement signals being sent to the brain. Treatment may include Canalith repositioning procedure.
  • Meniere’s disease – Balance symptoms related to Meniere’s disease seem to be caused by excessive pressure in the inner ear. Symptoms include vertigo, tinnitus, ear fullness and hearing loss. Various treatments are available, but there is no cure.
  • Vestibular neuronitis – This is caused by an infection that creates inflammation of the inner ear and the nerves that send signals to the brain. This affects the information transmitted to the brain, resulting in dizziness and vertigo.

If you experience dizziness, imbalance, vertigo and the associated symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, etc. speak to your general health practitioner. They may decide to refer you to ENT.

If you are also experiencing issues with your hearing, we recommend booking in an appointment with your local hearing care professionals. The team at Smithtown / Sayville Hearing Services would be happy to meet with you. Call us on (631) 993-4719, or book a consultation with us today.

Posted by Admin

Why You Still Need Regular Checkups Even Though You Already Have Hearing Aids

Have you been diagnosed with a hearing loss? Are you currently wearing hearing aids? If so, you may believe that you no longer need regular hearing assessments. In fact, it is quite to the contrary.

In the same way that you get your vision checked once a year to identify any changes, you should have annual hearing assessments.

Why Do You Still Need Regular Check Ups?d

  • Maintenance, repair and cleaning of your device. We’d be happy to go through the techniques that we demonstrated when you first got your hearing aid. Plus we can help with improving the working order of your device whilst you are with us.
  • Changes to your hearing. Without checkups you may not notice any changes to your hearing until they are quite pronounced. But because we know your baseline, we can detect any slight changes each time your test is repeated.This could mean a simple adjustment of your settings is needed, or it could help us to identify a cause and any intervention to thereby slow or prevent further hearing loss.
  • Adjustments to your device can be made during your visit to overcome any issues you may have been experiencing.
  • Upgrade or change of requirements. You may be finding that the style of hearing aid you have chosen is no longer the most suitable for your lifestyle. With several different styles, such as behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC) and more, we can suggest an alternative. It may also be time to upgrade for more features and capability such as Bluetooth.
  • Stay up to date with advances in technology and accessories, hearing aids have advanced greatly over the recent years. There are many new options and features available to make it easier for you to stay active and participate in the activities you enjoy most. Plus seeing you often, we can get to know you better and understand your needs, enabling us to advise you of any new products or features that you may benefit from.

In Between Check-Ups

Keep your hearing aid in top working order in between your regular checkups with these simple tips:

  • Regularly clean your device and store it overnight in a dry box that will kill bacteria and remove any moisture.
  • Check your batteries often, and keep a spare set on you at all times.
  • Keep your hearing aid dry, remove it when bathing, swimming, showering etc.
  • Do listening checks, use a listening tube and check for feedback, whistling and any breaks in sound.
  • If you experience feedback or muffled sound, check that your hearing aid is fitting correctly. You may have an ear wax blockage, speak to us or your physician for advice on removal.

If you are experiencing any discomfort or you feel like your hearing aid isn’t helping as much as it used to, don’t delay booking a consultation with Smithtown / Sayville Hearing today. We are dedicated to your hearing health and helping you to live with hearing loss! Call today on (631) 993-4719.

Posted by Admin

Tips for Taking Care of Your Hearing Aids in the Summer Heat

Summer is in full swing and it’s time to get out and hit the beach! If you’re a person with any sort of hearing device, you may need to take some extra steps to protect your hearing aid while enjoying the summer sun. Summer hearing aid care isn’t that much different than the rest of the year, but with elevated temperatures and humidity, you’ll need to take a few extra precautions to keep your hearing devices clean and in good working order during the hot months.

Summer Hearing Aid Care

While you have the option to get hearing aids that are water resistant, caring for hearing aids in hot weather can be a little bit more challenging. Moisture is the biggest threat to your devices, so in order to combat the humidity and potential for sweat to come in contact with your hearing aid, you’ll need to be diligent. Here are a few tips to help keep your hearing aid in good working order this summer.

  • Moisture is no friend of hearing aids – The biggest issue hearing aids face is moisture. If you’re going swimming, need to jump in the shower, or plan on going for a good workout, it’s best to remove your hearing device completely. Humidity can have a negative impact on your devices as well, so in the event that you really need to wear your hearing aid out, ensure you’re removing it and drying it off frequently.
  • Sunscreen can be problematic – The oils and other ingredients in sunscreen lotions are meant to stick to your skin. Try applying your sunscreen completely, and make sure your hands are clean before putting your hearing aid back on. The oils can leave residue and seep into the tiny parts on your device.
  • Heat can cause lasting damage – Really, any extreme temperature isn’t great for your hearing aids, but caring for hearing aids in hot weather means keeping your devices in cooler temperatures when you’re not wearing them. Leaving them in a hot car for a few hours can cause damage that can’t be fixed. Also, if you spend a lot of time outside in hot temps, be sure to dry off your hearing aid if you’re stepping inside to a nice cool building. The extreme change in temperatures can cause condensation to build up inside the device and can result in short circuiting your hearing aid.
  • Ventilation is good – When you’re not wearing your devices, store them in a cool, dry place. Consider leaving the battery door open to allow dry air to circulate through the device to help keep moisture at bay.
  • Bacteria likes warm, moist places – You’ll want to disinfect your devices with antimicrobial cleaners to fight off bacteria. There are products available such as cleaning wipes to use yourself, or you can ask your audiologist for help on how to have them professionally cleaned.
  • Stay prepared while on vacation – Be sure to stock up on batteries and other necessary parts for your devices so you have them when needed. Lodging establishments all over the world have rooms that can accommodate the hearing impaired, so inquire with the places you’ll be staying to see what your options are.

Summer heat and hearing aid care don’t have to ruin your vacation plans! Keeping your hearing devices clean, dry and in optimal condition will help you get the most out of your awesome summer adventures! If you would like any further information, call Smithtown Sayville Hearing on (631) 993-4719 or click here to book an appointment.

Posted by Admin

Can Hearing Aids Help Improve Brain Function?

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. This is an important issue to us given how we rely upon or brains to process the auditory information sent from our ears in order to hear. With the links between hearing loss, memory and cognitive decline continuing to be studied, this brings to mind a question: Can hearing aids help improve brain function?

Hearing Loss and the Brain

A study carried out by John Hopkins documented that the risk of developing dementia increased with the severity of a hearing loss. They also showed how cognitive decline can be intensified by 30-40% due to untreated hearing loss.

Theories to explain this include; worsening social isolation due to hearing concerns. Over time this may cause a reduction in the brain’s ability to interpret speech and sound effectively. Also, an overload of effort required from the brain when attempting to process auditory information could result in less available energy for processing memory functions etc.

These factors could be compounded by resulting in the structure of the brain changing. That would impact the functions of those areas of the brain.

In short, John Hopkins and the Hearing Loss Association of America agree that leaving hearing loss untreated increases the chances of brain function suffering. Long term, that could start to impact memory and potentially lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

How Can Hearing Aids Help?

It’s not all doom and gloom if you have a hearing loss. The research seems to show that the problem is leaving the hearing loss untreated for a long period of time. Studies looking at the impact of hearing aids on brain function are showing encouraging results.

So, it may be possible to improve cognitive function by treating your hearing loss with hearing aids. One study looked at subjects aged 50+ who had untreated bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Their processing speed, working memory and selective attention were tested at the start and end of the study. Results showed that after using hearing aids for 8 hours every day over a 6 month period, there were significant improvements in every test.

These findings highlight yet another compelling reason to get your hearing checked regularly. Especially given that approximately only 20% of those who could benefit from using a hearing aid actually use one! It’s concerning given that untreated hearing loss can impact all aspects of your wellbeing.

From the first time symptoms are experienced, it can take a person up to 10 years to seek professional advice. But why delay any further, take the first step to protecting your brain function and general quality of life today. Call Smithtown Sayville Hearing on (631) 993-4719 or click here to book a complimentary hearing assessment.

Posted by Admin

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