Visual and hearing impairments
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Do people with hearing impairment suffer from low concentration and poor balance?

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  • nadia_atlasnadia_atlas Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hello Vicki, its really lovely to read your post thank you, 

    I am deaf in my left ear since 1998 when I was 4 years old. Do people with hearing impairment suffer from low concentration and poor balance because I have been told by close family that I am very clumsy and I sometimes cannot walk down stairs in the same speed as others (I always need to hold on the rails). I do not want to risk loosing my other hearing in my right ear,,, what can you advice to do or not to do? 

    Thank you so much
  • VickiKirwinVickiKirwin Member Posts: 69 Courageous

    Hi nadia_atlas


    Yes, people with hearing impairment can be affected by poor concentration and balance. This might be related to their hearing loss, or may be coincidental, but both are reasonably common. 


    The balance organ is located in the inner ear and for some people, whatever affected their inner ear and caused the deafness can also cause balance problems. The brain is very good at compensating for this weakness in the balance organ and instead relies more on information from your eyes and from special sensors in the legs. What this means is that you might find it harder to stay upright when you haven’t got as good vision (such as in the dark) and/or on uneven ground (like on gravel or stairs). It is sensible to hold on to rails etc as you do. 


    Poor concentration may be related to listening fatigue. Having to work extra hard concentrating and focussing on sound because of having a hearing loss is very tiring. And since we only have a certain amount of energy each day, any extra energy you have to spend working on listening means you have less energy for other activities. It is common for people with hearing impairment to need to take regular breaks from listening tasks etc.  


    If you don’t already use a hearing aid then you could consider this, as being able to hear better will reduce your listening effort. There are lots of options suitable for one-sided deafness these days. If you’re not already being seen by an an audiologist then it’s worth asking your GP to refer you about both problems. Depending on how severe your balance difficulties are they can also refer you for balance testing and/or a specialist assessment and rehabilitation (exercises) with a physiotherapist if wanted. 


    Good luck, Vicki

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