The relationship between one’s balance and hearing is anatomical in nature. The ear is, therefore, unique because it is the only organ that houses two senses: balance and hearing. The part of the inner ear responsible for hearing is known as the cochlea.   

The cochlea is contained in the same structure the organ for balance is found in. As a result, certain disorders of the inner ear can impact both balance and hearing. Thus, a hearing evaluation is often performed for people who get really dizzy even if they are not complaining of any problems related to the ear.  

How do your ears impact dizziness?

Dizziness is common and can occur from disturbances in the fluid found in the inner ear. It can also occur from physiological changes or pressure on the balance nerve (also found near the ear). Any kind of imbalance of this type leads to dizziness or conditions such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or hearing loss. But wait, does dizziness cause hearing loss or does hearing loss cause dizziness? 

What is vertigo?  

The dizziness that results from an inner ear condition is known as vertigo. Vertigo often feels like a spinning or whirling sensation. Any resulting lightheadedness may either be intermittent or constant. The condition can be aggravated by a sudden shift in position or movement of the head as well. While vomiting or nausea can occur with Vertigo, the patient usually will not lose consciousness if the dizziness is caused by the inner ear. The pattern and type of the symptoms of Vertigo depend on the functions that have been affected inside the inner ear.  

What is central dizziness?  

The feeling of dizziness does not have to be connected with an inner ear condition at all either. Central dizziness, which results from a lack of coordination between the brain and the three parts of the balance system, can occur in response to a migraine, infection, tumor, or a degenerative disease such as multiple sclerosis.  

Visual dizziness can occur if the muscles in the eyes are not balanced too. The condition is also brought on by an inability to focus, intermittent blurred vision or a difficulty in reading. In very rare instances, dizziness can be brought on by muscular or joint conditions too.  Conditions that are related to general health issues also cause dizziness. These health problems might include a vitamin deficiency, thyroid deficiency or diabetes.  

The Symptoms to Look Out For 

If you feel that you get dizzy all too often, any of the following symptoms needs to be reported to your physician:  

  • Whirling or spinning (vertigo)  
  • Disorientation  
  • Unsteadiness   
  • Tinnitus  
  • Loss of hearing  
  • Lightheadedness  

Because the inner ear is a frequent cause of dizziness, patients experiencing the condition often undergo a hearing test initially. A common test used for balance is a Videonystagmography (VNG). This kind of test is instrumental as it gives a more comprehensive picture of whether the dizziness is a cause of the inner ear or not.