It becomes more important than ever to stay fit and healthy as we get older. Maintaining your sense of balance is crucial, especially once you approach retirement. Unfortunately, many seniors are hospitalized every year for injuries sustained in falls—many of which could have been prevented with treatment for simple issues like hearing loss or vision problems.
If you’ve noticed a decline in your balance lately, it’s time to take action—even if you think you don’t need help managing your hearing loss just yet.
Falls are a Serious and Common Issue Among Older Adults.
It’s a fact that falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for older adults. Falls can lead to broken bones, head injuries, and even death.
Although most people believe that accidents only happen to others, the truth is that everyone is at risk for accidents due to illness or injury. This is why it’s essential to be aware of any potential dangers around your home so they don’t become severe issues in the future.
Hearing loss and balance issues
Hearing loss can lead to balance issues. The ability to hear is critical for maintaining balance, as it helps us maintain our footing and avoid falls. Consider that your ears are constantly taking in information about your surroundings and relaying it to the brain.
In addition, the brain uses this information to adjust how you move your body to stay balanced. When this process breaks down, it becomes more difficult for you to maintain your balance due to hearing loss or other factors. This can lead to falls and other accidents.
Undiagnosed Hearing Loss Could Lead to Work Accidents.
People with untreated hearing loss are at greater risk for work accidents. They can’t hear their coworkers or supervisors, so they’re more likely to:
- misunderstand instructions, leading to mistakes in the workplace
- miss important information from customers and coworkers, which could lead to errors on the job
- not realize that there’s a problem until it’s too late (for example, if something is about to fall on them), which could lead to severe injuries or even death (if you’ve ever tried talking into a vacuum cleaner while cleaning your house, you know how easy it is for those things not only not hear what you’re saying but also move toward where your voice is coming from)
Treating hearing loss could reduce accidents and falls.
A 2014 study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis showed that helping people with hearing loss hear better seems to help them keep their balance. When hearing aids were turned on, patients with hearing aids in both ears did better on standard balance tests than when hearing aids were turned off.
The small study, published in the journal The Laryngoscope, only looked at 14 people between the ages of 65 and 91. However, it is the first to show that sound information, distinct from the inner ear’s balance system, helps keep the body stable. The study supports the idea that helping older people hear better with hearing aids might make them less likely to fall.
Hearing aids help improve balance by reducing stress on the ear’s vestibular system, which helps maintain equilibrium in humans.
They also improve balance by helping individuals avoid dangerous situations in their everyday lives. For example, they allow people to hear the fire alarm at home or work before it goes off to evacuate safely. They also improve safety at night by amplifying sounds like car horns and ambulance sirens that may otherwise be difficult for someone with hearing loss to hear over other noises such as traffic or wind whistling through an open window.
Come and see us for a hearing test!
In conclusion, hearing loss can significantly impact your balance and even lead to falls or workplace accidents. It’s also clear that treating your hearing loss could reduce the risk of falling or having an accident.
If you are concerned about your balance or have already had a fall, it’s worth having a professional hearing test to see if you have any age-related hearing loss. Many people don’t realize they have an issue with their hearing until it starts affecting their everyday life—don’t let this happen to you!