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Hearing and Your Balance At first thought, hearing disorders and balance may not seem to be related, but problems with the inner ear can be the cause of both. Inside the temporal bone there is a knot of fluid-filled bony tubes called the bony labyrinth. If there’s an imbalance of fluid inside the bony labyrinth the result can be dizziness and other problems with equilibrium. Because the cells that make hearing possible also reside in the bony labyrinth, some hearing disorders stem from irregularities there. It’s important to note that dizziness is also a symptom of many serious medical conditions. Anyone experiencing dizziness along with a feeling of weakness, chest pain, nausea, sweating, head trauma or shortness of breath should seek medical attention immediately. Once your doctor has ruled out any other health concerns, he may recommend a hearing specialist. A hearing specialist is not only trained to diagnose and treat hearing disorders but can also diagnose and treat balance problems. Through testing he can detect what is causing the imbalance and how it is impacting other functions such as vision and hearing. The most common test a hearing specialist may conduct for a patient complaining of dizziness is the Electronystagomogram or ENG.

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The ENG includes three parts and several subtests. The three main parts are Oculomotor Analysis where the patient will be asked to perform several visual tasks, Positional Testing where the patient will be placed in a variety of body positions to see if dizziness occurs and Caloric Stimulation which includes direct testing of the ear canal. The evaluation will determine if dizziness is being caused by a systemic, central or peripheral disorder. Fasting and abstaining from medications and other substances are necessary to prepare for the test. Due to the physical positioning required during the test, women may be more comfortable wearing pants and low heels. Obviously, treatment for dizziness depends on the cause. When hearing loss accompanies equilibrium problems, a hearing device may be recommended as part of the treatment plan. Medications, physical therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, lifestyle changes or surgery are some of the recommendations a hearing specialist may make. Ignoring dizziness not only puts you at risk for a fall, it may mean you are also ignoring a serious condition. If you or someone you love is suffering with dizziness and hearing loss, speak with your doctor or a hearing specialist. Today there are so many treatments and devices available to help with hearing and balance disorders that there’s no reason to continue suffering.

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Evaluations like the ENG are painless and your hearing professional will answer any questions you have before scheduling the test.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dizziness/DS00435/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

http://acenta.com/audiology.dizzinessbalance.asp http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/

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Hearing and Your Balance