"The inner-ear has tiny rocks inside of it."

Fact or Fiction?

You may have heard the expression, "Get the rocks out of your ears." Well, in reality, that may not be such a smart idea. These "rocks" inside our inner ears are called otoconia and extremely important to our sense of balance. After a head injury or trauma, some individuals will naturally feel a loss of balance, similar to vertigo. In this video, audiologist Dr. Heather Parrish explains how these tiny rocks in your ear can become dislodged and cause problems.

Your inner ear has about 1,000 tiny rocks made out of calcium carbonate which stimulate our nerve cells when we move our heads. They are named otoconia and they help determine our sense of direction and balance. Like little grains of sand, these inner ear “rock slides” can lead to vertigo or tinnitus as they are closely linked to the otolith organs.

The otolith senses gravity and linear acceleration. A damaged otolith results in poorer abilities to sense motion and a harder time orienting their bodies in physical space. To learn more about otoliths and otoconia, read this study from the National Institute of Health.

Dr. Heather Parrish has been working as an audiologist and as a trainer for hearing professionals since 2006. We were glad to interview her for this Fact or Fiction series where she outlined some of the most common questions new patients had when they walked into an audiologist's office. With her help we are able to bring you content focused on educating new hearing aid users.

Have a family friend or loved one you are doing some research for? Start the conversation and learn about what to expect at a hearing test and get the one you love into a new pair of hearing aids, or at least into an audiologist clinic to get their hearing evaluation.