There are lots of negatives associated with age-related hearing loss. It becomes harder to hold conversations, especially in public, harder to do things you enjoy, like go to the movies or see a play, and it can also damage your relationships. One thing that is associated with hearing loss that many people don’t know about is an increased risk of falls. Since the elderly are already in danger of suffering severe injury when they fall, anything that increases their risk of falling should be a big concern.
Hearing Loss Affects Balance
Hearing loss definitely increases a person’s risk of falling. Even a small degree of hearing loss triples a person’s risk of accidentally falling, and for every 10 decibels of hearing loss that risk increase by 140%. There are several ways that hearing loss can be connected to balance and fall risk. When a person has hearing loss, the brain has to divert more resources to trying to understand sounds, including speech, and that may mean there is less brain-power focused on balance and walking. Hearing loss also makes people less aware of their surroundings, including other people and pets. When they don’t realize what is going on around them, people are more likely to stumble and fall. Hearing loss also decreases spacial awareness, or a person’s ability to gauge where their body is in relation to things around them.
The Danger of Falls
Falls can be a huge danger for elderly people. Falls can cause severe injury, including broken bones and brain injury. Falls may lead to hospitalization and even death in some cases. A fear of falling may also keep some elderly people from doing things they enjoy, like going outside or socializing. When the risk of falling is increased by hearing loss, which can also keep people from going out, the risk of isolation becomes greater. Any degree of hearing loss should be treated, but patients also need to consistently wear their hearing aids once they have them. Many people choose not to wear their hearing aids around the house, reserving them for when they go out. This doesn’t help mitigate the risk of falling while at home, which is the most common place to experience a fall. It is important to understand that failing to treat and correct your hearing loss could have very dangerous results.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today!
Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment, with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
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