What Are Inner Ears and How Do They Affect Balance?

The parts of your ears you can’t see are some of the most important. Well-functioning inner ears allow you to maintain a sense of balance and physical stability, which is important for everything from feeling good in general to preventing spills and accidents. 

While mild, occasional balance issues aren’t cause for alarm, you should seek medical care for severe and ongoing symptoms.

Our skilled neurology team at Michigan Neurology Associates offers on-site diagnostics for balance disorders, as well as customized treatment plans focused on restoring balance and alleviating related symptoms. 

Inner ear anatomy 

Your inner ear is the internal part that contains organs of the senses that play a major role in hearing and equilibrium. The bony network has three sections: 

Canals that loop around your inner ear contain fluid and tiny hairlike sensors that help you maintain a sense of balance. The fluid moves up and down, letting your brain know which direction you’re facing. 

Tiny particles inside cells at the bottom of the canals help monitor your head’s position in relation to movements, such as moving forward or backward in a vehicle or riding in an elevator, as well as gravity.

Balance disorders

Numerous factors can cause balance problems including:

Ear infections also cause balance disorders. While they’re especially common in children, they can occur at any age. Ear infections happen when a virus or bacteria infect and trap fluid behind your eardrum, bringing about swelling and pain. 

Ear infections and other causes of inflammation within your ears can make you feel unsteady and dizzy by interfering with normal function in the area. Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear, changes the fluid volume in your ear, potentially leading to vertigo and hearing loss.

Managing balance problems

The first step in managing poor balance issues is a comprehensive exam, during which you discuss your symptoms and overall health. Once we determine the underlying cause of your symptoms, we recommend appropriate treatment. 

If an ear infection is at play, antibiotics can clear away the infection and lead to improved balance. In some cases, ear infections clear up on their own. If vertigo is the root cause, we can manually manipulate your head to reposition crystals in the fluid in the ear canal for restored balance.

To get support from our neurology specialists at Michigan Neurology Associates, call one of our three locations or send us a message through this website. We have offices in Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, and Utica, Michigan. During the pandemic, we’re offering telehealth or phone appointments. Call 586-445-9900 to schedule a time.

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