Deaf children and balance

A girl holds her dad's hand to balance while walking.

Balance disorders can occur in children but may not be as easy to detect as they are in adults. This is mainly due to the fact that young children are not as able as adults or older children to describe the symptoms they are feeling, and may also be unable to understand the concepts of vertigo or imbalance.

There can be several causes to balance disorders and sometimes the balance disorder isn’t associated with a hearing loss. Some of the causes of balance disorders can be due to glue ear (otitis media), congenital SNHL (sensorineural hearing loss), viral infections, meningitis , CMV (cytomegalovirus) and EVA (enlarged vestibular aqueduct).

This factsheet has been written for parents to provide information about the balance system and balance disorders.

Balance problems occur when the organ of balance does not work properly (vestibular hypofunction). Chidlren can be born with this or acquire it with illness or trauma. With hypofunction, the development of balance function may be delayed and this might mean that babies and young children take longer to reach developmental milestones such as sitting unsupported and walking. Older children may have difficulties with certain activities such as learning to ride a bike. This is called imbalance.

Other types of balance problems can give rise to dizziness or vertigo or episodes of unsteadiness. These can occur at any time in childhood.

Download: Balance and Balance Disorders

More information
If you suspect your child has a balance disorder, ask your GP to refer your ENT or a Paediatrician.

Do you have a question about deafness? Have a look at our Parents' FAQs.