Hearing aids don’t typically cause vertigo or dizziness, but getting used to new hearing aids may take some time. Vertigo is often caused by inner ear issues.

Hearing aids can take some getting used to, but they don’t often cause vertigo or dizziness. Vertigo, which is one of several kinds of dizziness, is typically described as a spinning sensation or the feeling that the world around you is moving. If you’re experiencing vertigo, it’s most likely unrelated to your hearing aids.

The most common causes of vertigo are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and Meniere’s disease. Both conditions involve the inner ear, and Meniere’s disease is often associated with hearing loss.

It’s understandable that you may be concerned about the side effects of hearing aids, but there’s little evidence to suggest a connection between hearing aids and vertigo.

If you do have dizziness with a new hearing aid, it could have something to do with the fit of the device. You can work with an audiologist to make an adjustment or find a new type of aid.

This article will go over the connections between hearing aids and vertigo and outline other potential causes of your symptoms.

There’s some evidence that hearing aids may cause dizziness in some people, but it appears to be an uncommon side effect.

A 2019 survey explored the negative side effects of hearing aids with a questionnaire completed by 512 people with hearing loss. Participants were asked whether they had experienced any of 1 out of the 32 physical, psychological, and social side effects listed.

Some participants experienced all 32 side effects, including dizziness, but the researchers noted that very few participants specifically cited dizziness as a concern. Overall, the researchers concluded that the negative side effects of hearing aids were considered mild by most people.

It’s important to note that vertigo is a bit different from other kinds of dizziness, so the small number of people who reported dizziness in this study may not have had vertigo.

According to a 2022 review of research, vertigo and dizziness weren’t among the most common side effects or problems related to hearing aid use. Some of the issues users reported include:

  • poor, unclear, or unpleasant sound quality
  • discomfort, irritation, or pain while wearing the aids
  • trouble with hearing aid maintenance and repair
  • trouble during specific listening situations (such as in crowds or on the phone)
  • problems with the appearance of the hearing aids
  • trouble with smartphone technology

Technically, vertigo is a symptom like dizziness or tiredness. To most people, vertigo feels like the world around you is spinning or like you’re in motion. Episodes of vertigo can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks. These episodes are sometimes accompanied by nausea or vomiting.

There are other types of dizziness that can be confused with vertigo. According to a 2016 review, other types of dizziness may include:

Vertigo is often linked to conditions that affect the inner ear. Some of the most common inner ear conditions are:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): BPPV causes brief episodes of vertigo when you move your head quickly. Vertigo episodes usually resolve quickly but may continue to happen for weeks at a time. BPPV happens because of particles in the semicircular canals of the inner ear.
  • Meniere’s disease: Meniere’s disease causes sudden vertigo episodes that last 20 minutes or more. The disease happens because of a buildup of fluid in the inner ear. Other signs of these episodes are hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis: Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis are conditions resulting from inflammation in the inner ear that may be caused by a viral infection. Vertigo can go on for many days and make you feel sick.

Although inner ear conditions often cause vertigo, other medical conditions can also lead to this symptom.

Other common causes of vertigo include:

  • Vestibular migraine: Vestibular migraine can cause vertigo that goes away within minutes or lasts for days. As with other forms of migraine, vestibular migraine can be accompanied by:
    • severe headache
    • a feeling of unsteadiness
    • hearing loss or tinnitus
  • Medications: Vertigo may be a medication side effect.
  • Head injury: An acute head injury, such as from a fall or accident, can cause vertigo.

A specific type of vertigo called “central vertigo” may be the result of changes in areas of the brain such as the cerebellum. Causes of central vertigo include:

  • migraine
  • multiple sclerosis
  • stroke (transient ischemic attack)
  • brain tumor such as an acoustic neuroma

Dizziness may also have numerous other causes including:

  • ear infection
  • iron deficiency (anemia)
  • dehydration
  • heat exhaustion
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • motion sickness

Ongoing vertigo may be treatable depending on the underlying cause. Consider speaking with a doctor if you have repeated vertigo episodes. A doctor can help identify the cause and treat your symptoms.

If you experience dizziness with hearing aids, you may want to ask for a referral to an audiologist. An audiologist may be able to help you find the right type and fit of hearing aid.

Emergency care

If you have vertigo or any dizziness and recently had a fall or head injury, seek emergency care immediately by calling 911 or local emergency services.

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Many people adjust to hearing aids over time. Taking some of these steps may help make the process easier.

Gradually increase your wear time

In the beginning, wear your hearing aids for 1 to 2 hours a day. You can start wearing them for longer and longer periods of time until you’re wearing them all the time — or all the time except when you’re showering or sleeping.

Gradually increasing the time you wear hearing aids may help improve comfort and usefulness in communication.

Pay attention to different sounds

Hearing aids can amplify all noises. Spend time noticing everyday sounds such as the doorbell, dogs barking, and closing doors. Paying attention to these noises may help to retrain your hearing according to what sounds are important.

You may want to start in a quiet environment and gradually work up to noisy environments.

Wear your hearing aids while watching television in order to get used to different types of sounds.

Start with one-on-one conversations

Focus on communication with one person before moving on to group conversations. Starting with one-on-one conversations can help you get used to the occlusion effect, in which your own voice sounds louder inside your head.

Starting with direct conversation can also help you to determine whether your hearing aids are working for you and help you learn to adjust your hearing aids in different environments.

Work with an audiologist

An audiologist can help you make adjustments to your hearing aids according to your experiences. The audiologist can also help you learn how to insert, clean, and change the batteries in your hearing aids. They can also give you tips on when and how long you should charge rechargeable hearing aids.

If you have dizziness or vertigo, an audiologist may be able to help by adjusting the volume or fit.

  • Hearing aids rarely cause dizziness or vertigo, but it’s possible.
  • Vertigo, which is a type of dizziness that makes you feel like you’re in motion, is more likely to be caused by a condition than hearing aids.
  • Vertigo can be caused by circumstances that affect the inner ear or other conditions.
  • Adjusting hearing aids and slowly building up wear time can help you get used to them.