Can Hearing Aids Cause Vertigo?

by | Dec 18, 2023 | Balance/Dizziness

Vertigo and Hearing Aids: Is There a Link?

You may have heard from one person or another that there is a link between hearing aids and vertigo. While we won’t speak badly about the purveyor of that message, we are more than happy to put your mind at ease: Hearing aids without a doubt do not cause or worsen vertigo. In fact, did you know these little devices may play a role in improving your balance altogether? 

To understand how that is possible, it is important to understand a little bit more about our ears, vertigo, and how hearing aids work. I promise we won’t get too sciency! 

What’s Going on Inside Our Inner Ears?

There are 3 parts that make up the anatomy of your ear: the inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear. The outer ear is the part you can see, which consists of skin and cartilage. This is where a hearing aid normally sits and helps facilitate noise transfer through the middle ear, to the cochlea, located in the inner ear. 

Besides the cochlea, which plays a role in our ability to hear, the inner ear also contains another structure called the vestibular apparatus. The vestibular apparatus is responsible for maintaining our spatial awareness, stability, and balance. While these two structures are located near each other in the ear, vertigo is not usually associated with cochlear issues. 

What is Vertigo?

If you have ever experienced a spinning sensation in your head or feeling off balance as though you are moving while still in place, it could be attributed to vertigo. Nearly 40% of U.S. adults report having vertigo at least once in their life, with women being more often affected than men. There are many things that can cause vertigo, including migraines, medication, and BPPV as well as much more serious conditions like labyrinthitis and Ménière’s disease

Vertigo is most often caused by triggers in the inner ear’s vestibular system, mentioned above. When this system is thrown out of balance, it can cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms or balance issues. The best way to get a diagnosis and find the root of your vertigo is by speaking to an expert specializing in these issues. Many patients rely on an audiologist to help create a care plan and manage symptoms. In some cases, balance issues related to vertigo can be lessened with the use of hearing aids!

Improving Balance with Hearing Aids

Because the structures of the ear that control hearing and balance are both found in the inner ear, these two functions are closely related. For adults with hearing impairments, the addition of hearing aids was found to improve both their static and dynamic balance. Meaning participants who wore hearing aids had more control while they were standing in place and moving than they did without the use of hearing technology. 

So, while hearing aids are neither a cause nor a cure for vertigo, they may help in addressing the symptoms related to a lack of balance. This is all possible because of how hearing aid technology works. 

How Hearing Aids Work

For those with hearing loss, hearing aids are recommended to help amplify the sounds around us whether in conversation with our loved ones, listening to music, or appreciating our surroundings. Hearing aid technology works with three basic components: a microphone, an amplifier, and a receiver. 

The microphone captures sound, like a piano ballad or a baby’s laugh. The amplifier takes these sounds and, as the name suggests, makes them louder. Amplifying the noise according to an individual’s needs and how they have been programmed by the audiologist. The final part is the receiver. Depending on the type, a receiver may sit inside the hearing aid shell, or behind the ear. Without a receiver, we would not be able to hear the sounds being projected, which is why it is so important to keep this part of your device clean! 

With these three pieces, hearing aids allow us to hear better, giving our brains a more complete picture of our surroundings. When this happens, we have more spatial awareness, and therefore better balance. 

Talk With an Audiologist at Colorado Ear Care To Help Diagnose & Treat Your Vertigo

Vertigo not only stops you from enjoying your daily activities, but it can also be disorienting and lead to more serious concerns. If you are suffering from dizziness or another balance disorder, it may be time to contact a professional. 

Our experienced team at Colorado Ear Care is here to help! We have the most thorough and complete dizziness and vestibular testing in the state of Colorado. Stop suffering from vertigo and come see us at one of our four locations today.

Talk with one of our friendly hearing and balance professionals today.