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  • Writer's pictureAdvanced Audiology Assoc.

Can vertigo be tied to hearing loss?

Now that Valentine's day has passed and we're all done falling in love again, let's discuss falling - in general. Do you ever experience spinning, wobbling, wooziness or feeling faint? Well, you're not alone! According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, approximately 40% of the population in the United States will experience some form of dizziness or balance difficulty over the course of a lifetime.

Like many symptoms of larger problem, dizziness does not discriminate by gender, age or ethnicity. Everyone is susceptible to the dizzies, but it is the type and frequency of these sensations that should be concerning.

Why am I dizzy?

Dizziness is what happens when there is a deficit in your equilibrium or vestibular system. The vestibular system is the link between your inner ear and your brain which helps you keep your balance when performing basic, everyday duties like getting out of bed, or walking. Although anything can trigger dizziness, it is important to pay attention to the specific causes of the episodes as even ordinary things – like prescription drugs or a car ride – can trigger motion sickness.

  • Disequilibrium - feeling off-balance, unsteady or wobbly

  • Lightheadedness - vague symptoms, floating, common feeling of being disconnected with the environment

  • Presyncope - feeling of losing consciousness or blacking out

  • Vertigo - a false sense of motion, common feeling of spinning sensation.

Meniere's Disease

If you have noticed an increase in vertigo and some hearing loss, then it is possible you have Meniere’s disease. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that approximately 615,000 people in the United States have Meniere’s disease, with another 45,500 people being diagnosed each year.

This disease affects the inner ear, which also affects hearing and balance. The issue with balance causes people with Meniere's to feel vertigo; while the issues with hearing may cause the affected individual to slowly lose hearing and often develop tinnitus (ringing sound in the ear). For the majority of patients, Meniere's will only affect one ear - however, approximately 15% of the population with Meniere's will develop the issue in both ears.

NIDCD estimates that approximately 615,000 people in the United States have Meniere’s disease, with another 45,500 people being diagnosed each year.

Symptoms of Meniere's Disease

Although there are many symptoms that cause Meniere’s, some seemingly insignificant, research has shown that most symptoms show up as "episodes" with many days to months of the individual feeling symptom-free.

These symptoms include:

  • vertigo - with attacks lasting anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours

  • loss of balance

  • loss of hearing in the affected ear

  • tinnitus - in the affected ear

  • feeling that the ear is full or plugged

  • headaches

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • sweating

Standing up to Meniere's Disease

While Meniere’s disease is defined as a chronic disease, research has shown that proper treatments and lifestyle changes can help ease symptoms. Additionally, many people diagnosed with Meniere’s disease will go into remission a few years after diagnosis. According to the NIDCD, in addition to taking prescribed medication, some basic changes in your diet may help reduce the amount of fluid retained in your inner ear and thus, reduce the uncomfortable symptoms.

They suggest eliminating or reducing (to the best of your ability) food and drinks with:

  • salt

  • caffeine

  • chocolate

  • alcohol

  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)

In addition, some lifestyle changes that may help reduce the symptoms of Meniere’s include:

  • resting during vertigo attacks

  • eating regularly

  • avoiding allergens

  • managing stress and anxiety through psychotherapy or medication

  • quitting smoking

Most of the cases of dizziness are often unrelated to any serious diseases, but it is always prudent to be proactive about your hearing health. If you think you might be due for a hearing check up, contact us to make an appointment!

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