Feeling unbalanced or dizzy can be an alarming experience, especially if you are experiencing hearing difficulties at the same time. Michel Babajanian, MD, FACS, is a highly qualified otolaryngologist who provides compassionate care for people in Century City and the surrounding areas of Los Angeles, who are suffering from hearing and balance disorders. Dr. Babajanian uses his extensive experience and medical expertise to diagnose the cause of the problem and prescribe the most effective treatment. Call Dr. Babajanian today to schedule your consultation or book an appointment online.

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Why are hearing and balance disorders linked?

There’s a close link between hearing and balance due to the role of the inner ear in helping you stay balanced. This means that anything that affects your hearing is likely to affect your balance as well.

Your central nervous system, which consists of your brain and spinal cord, in addition to your eyes and inner ears, works together so you can maintain your balance as you go about your day. Injury or disease in any of these structures can, therefore, affect your balance.

Some of the most common causes of balance problems are due to issues involving the inner ear.

What inner ear problems affect hearing and balance?

Infections and inflammation can cause swelling of the tissues inside the inner ear, which can lead to pain, loss of hearing, and balance problems. The more common inner ear problems include:

  • Middle ear fluid
  • Middle ear infections
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Cholesteatoma (noncancerous growth in the middle ear)
  • Perforated tympanic membrane (ruptured eardrum)
  • Otorrhea (ear drainage and discharge)
  • Vertigo and dizziness
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis (inflammation of the vestibular nerve)

In some cases, hearing loss and balance problems resolve once the inflammation reduces and the infection clears. In other cases, the symptoms persist and become a chronic problem.

How are hearing and balance disorders diagnosed?

Dr. Babajanian starts the diagnostic process by going through your medical history with you during your consultation and reviewing your current hearing and balance-related symptoms. He then carries out a physical examination using an otoscope, an instrument that shines a light into your ear and allows Dr. Babajanian to see some of the internal structures.

After the initial examination, you may need to undergo hearing tests and other diagnostic evaluations, including:

  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAE)
  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR)
  • Electrocochleography (ECoG)
  • Electronystagmography (ENG/VNG)
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP)

Once all the results are in, Dr. Babajanian can discuss his findings and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

How are hearing and balance disorders treated?

Treatment for hearing and balance disorders depends on the cause, but options include:

  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Medications to control dizziness
  • Epley Maneuver (particle repositioning exercises)
  • Surgery

Balance problems may improve with an individualized program of exercises and occupational therapy to help you manage the condition and reduce the risk of a fall.

If you’ve been experiencing balance and hearing problems, call Michel Babajanian, MD, FACS, today, or book an appointment online.