The ear may look simple from the outside but it’s actually a complicated organ, doing much more than letting you hear what’s going on around you. Hearing is also key to how we balance, and in some cases hearing aids can help improve not only hearing function but balance as well.
Our sense of balance comes from visual input, proprioceptive input (also known as kinaesthesia or our ‘sixth sense’ that allows our bodies to sense movement, location and action) and our vestibular system which is part of our inner ear.
The vestibular system tells our brains about the movements and position of our head – information like if we’re moving or looking up or down, left or right, or if our head is tilted. The inner ear is also where sound waves are turned into electrical energy that our brains then translate into sounds, making hearing possible in the first place.
Because the inner ear is performing two vital functions, if one part isn’t working correctly, both balance and hearing can be affected.
“While many clinics only perform basic tests during exams, we believe in getting the entire picture before moving forward with treatment. This goes for all of our clients, not only those exhibiting additional symptoms aside from hearing loss,” says Luke Wiens, owner of Pardon Me Hearing in Kelowna.
“We provide free, thorough testing of all three parts of the ear (outer, middle and inner) to ensure we can provide our clients with as much information and support as possible.”
Pardon Me Hearing uses tympanometry testing, bone and air conduction testing along with video and standard otoscopy tests to determine exactly what is causing hearing loss and assess if a client’s loss of balance is connected to hearing loss or being caused by a separate issue.
“We offer this service free of charge for the same reason we don’t charge anything extra for custom moulds,” Wiens says. “We believe the ability to hear should never be considered a luxury. By keeping our costs down we’re able to help more seniors not only improve their quality of life through hearing but also help reduce fall-risk, due to loss in balance as well.”