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What does dizziness have to do with hearing loss?

Contributed by , associate editor for Healthy Hearing

Editor's note: This article was originally posted on August 24, 2007.  Due to it's overwhelming popularity, we've updated it to republish today.

Chances are that if you have had an evaluation for dizziness, you also had your hearing checked. On the other hand, it is also likely that if you've visited a hearing healthcare practitioner to have your hearing evaluated you were questioned about any dizziness you may have experienced. 

dizziness and hearing loss
Dizziness and hearing loss aren't always 
connected, but a visit to your hearing healthcare

professional should be able to clear this up!

So what exactly does dizziness have to do with hearing loss

The relationship between hearing and balance is anatomical. One of the things that makes the ear unique is that it is the only organ to house two different senses: hearing and balance. The hearing portion of the inner ear is called the cochlea. The cochlea is contained within the same bony structure as the balance organ.

Because these two senses are housed in the same structure, it's possible that some inner ear disorders can affect both our hearing and vestibular sense. The particular pattern of hearing and vestibular impairment can give clues as to the cause of an ear disorder. If dizziness were present, but there was no disturbance with your hearing, a hearing evaluation would probably still be done. A hearing test can pick up subtle, unnoticed changes in your hearing that can provide diagnostic information about your dizziness.

Dizziness isn't always connected to hearing loss. If the brain is not able to coordinate the inputs from the three parts of the balance system, there is central dizziness. Central dizziness can be the product of migraines, tumors, infections and degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis. Another unrelated cause of dizziness is visually based. This occurs when the eye muscles are imbalanced or through overwork while trying to focus. 

Individuals who suffer from possible dizziness spells and aren't sure if their hearing is related should visit a hearing healthcare professional to establish a baseline and begin searching for the root cause of their issues. 

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