The Link Between Your Ears and Balance Disorders

Do you feel unsteady on your feet? Don’t blame your legs. It could be an ear issue that's causing the problem. Your ears are the command center of your ability to stay balanced. The vestibular system, found inside the ear, sends out signals to your brain based on your head movements, and it calibrates coordination and movements. 

Our staff members at Momentum Physical Therapy often work with patients who suffer from balance disorders. Read on to get a better understanding of how your body uses input from your ears to help keep itself balanced.

Understanding how your ears are linked to your sense of balance

When you tilt your head upwards and downwards, the sensory hair cells in your vestibular system (located inside your ear) are bent by a fluid that moves when you move. These hair cells then send, via nerves, the information regarding the direction of your movement to your brain. 

Your vestibular system is also able to detect acceleration and prepare your body to adapt to its surroundings. For example, when you’re traveling by airplane or car, your brain may become confused because your eyes and ears are receiving conflicting information from the environment. In some cases, this confusion leads to dizziness and nausea. 

Hearing loss may impair your ability to remain steady on your legs

You can experience hearing loss without experiencing changes to your sense of balance, but certain conditions such as Labyrinthitis and Meniere’s disease can result in both hearing loss and balance disorders. 

Labyrinthitis is an infection of the inner ear that can lead to nausea and dizziness. In rare cases, the infection can also lead to hearing loss. Fortunately, when caught early, the infection is curable and the symptoms eventually disappear. 

Meniere’s disease is characterized by pressure in the inner ear. Symptoms include tinnitus, hearing loss, and vertigo. Currently, there’s no cure for Meniere’s disease, but the disease is manageable with the right medication. In some cases, Meniere’s disease goes away on its own within a few years. 

Symptoms of balance disorders 

We all experience moments when we feel dizzy or unsteady on our feet. However, if these episodes of unsteadiness and lightheadedness occur on a daily basis, a balance disorder may be to blame. Other symptoms of balance disorders include blurred vision, confusion, and vertigo. 

Get help for your balance disorder 

Our specialist at Momentum Physical Therapy can help identify the cause of your balance issue and put together a set of customized exercises that will enable you to walk with confidence. 

If your balance issues are making day-to-day tasks more difficult, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our specialists will answer all of your questions with regards to how physical therapy can help with your balance disorder and explain what the exercises look like.

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