Treating Hearing Loss Can Help Balance & Prevent Falls

My Hearing Centers Hearing Health, Hearing Loss Leave a Comment

We all know that hearing loss makes it hard to follow conversations, but that’s not all. Not only does hearing loss make it hard to talk to your loved ones, it can also affect your balance and stability. The good news is that treating hearing loss can improve your balance. Hearing aids will help you hear all the words you’re straining to hear, and they’ll also improve balance to prevent falls. Hearing aids will give you back your confidence, and they can save you from an accident or fall.

How Common Are Falls?

Falls are among the leading causes of injury in older adults, and injuries due to falls are some of the most common causes of hospitalization. According to the National Council on Aging, one in four adults over the age of 65 falls every year. Every 11 seconds an older American will visit an emergency room seeking treatment after a fall. One reason for the increase in falls is a loss of mobility and dexterity. Living with untreated hearing loss also affects balance, and increases the risk of falls. 

How Hearing Loss Affects Balance

Did you know that hearing loss can be a risk to your safety? Hearing loss increases your risk of falling and getting hurt. When you can’t hear clearly, you are not aware of all the sounds around you. You may not hear the person coming up behind you, or hear a car driving down the street. This increases your risk of an accident or fall. When you meet a person or pet on the sidewalk, you have a higher chance of being surprised, running into them, or tripping.

Hearing loss also puts a strain on your brain. When you use a lot of energy straining to hear, you don’t have as many cognitive resources available to accomplish other tasks, like maintaining your balance. This cognitive overload increases your risk of an accident or fall.

Hearing Aids Improve Balance

Wearing hearing aids can improve your balance and prevent falls. When you wear hearing aids that are programmed to match your unique hearing needs, you’ll be more aware of all the sounds around you. You can pinpoint sounds in your environment, and you’ll hear people or objects as they get closer.

Hearing aids also reduce your cognitive load. When you wear hearing aids, you will hear most of the sounds around you. When you have a clear auditory picture of your environment, you won’t use so much energy straining to hear. This prevents cognitive overload, and reduces your risk of a fall. 

Testing Balance

A recent study from Washington University in St. Louis tested balancing abilities in 14 people over the age of 65. Each adult performed a series of balance tests while standing on a thick foam pad, or standing on the floor with one foot in front of the other. They did these tests without their hearing aids, and while wearing their hearing aids.

When the adults wore hearing aids, they could balance a few seconds longer, and maintained their balance easier. They had improvements in standing balance as well as lateral balance. The researchers also found that wearing hearing aids provided better balance even if the participants didn’t realize it. Many of the participants didn’t notice a change in their balance with or without their hearing aids, but wearing their devices did help them maintain their balance for longer. 

Finding the Right Hearing Aid

When you find the right hearing aids, you’ll be more aware of your surroundings and lower your risk of an accident or fall. You’ll also be preventing the cognitive overload caused by hearing loss. Hearing aids make it easy to hear all the sounds around you, and you’ll easily localize the sounds in your environment.

Start by visiting one of our locations for a hearing test to find out more about your hearing loss. After the hearing test we’ll help you find your perfect hearing aids. Are you having a hard time hearing in places with a lot of background noise? Are you worried about your balance? We’ll help you find the right hearing aids that will match your hearing needs and your lifestyle, all while improving your balance and preventing falls.