Prevent Falls by Treating Hearing Loss

Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D.Blog-post, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Hearing Loss Treatment, News, Research

Prevent Falls by Treating Hearing Loss
Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D.
Latest posts by Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D. (see all)

Due to medical advancements and quality of life, Americans are living longer than ever before. And, our society is one in which we often remain autonomous and independent as long as possible. But adults 65 and older are at risk for falls, which can quickly change our independence into dependence, with limited activity, reduced mobility, loss of fitness and an ongoing fear of falling which can actually increase the risk of future injury.

Accidents do happen and some falls are impossible to prevent. But, there are ways to lower your exposure to harm. Diagnosing and treating hearing loss is just one way to lessen the risk of falling.

The common culprit

Falls and the elderly are closely connected: Every 11 seconds an older adult visits the ER for treatment of a fall-related injury. Without trying to ring too many alarm bells here, it’s important to be aware that falls are a leading cause of injury-related death for those over the age of 65. For this reason, it’s of the utmost importance that small measures be taken on a daily basis in order to prevent a major fall in the future.

Treating hearing loss

Remarkably, treating hearing loss is one way to lessen one’s risk of falling. In 2012, John Hopkins Medicine released a study reporting that untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of falling by about three times.

There may be a few examples for this, one being that inner ear problems create both balancing challenges as well as hearing loss. However, untreated hearing loss may also increase the risk of falling because they are just much less aware of their surroundings. This is particularly true for someone who has relied upon their sense of hearing to assist in keeping them out of danger for most of their lives. Once that sense is lessened, we are more vulnerable in the world.

Opting for a hearing aid

There couldn’t be a better time to be shopping for hearing aids. The sheer expanse of product on the market is at its peak, plus retailers and manufacturers are offering great prices as a result of all this friendly competition.

Which isn’t even touching upon the best reason to intervene in hearing loss: improving your ability to hear and communicate in the world. Today’s hearing aids are smarter, sleeker and smaller than ever before. They’re also more likely to deliver clear sound in a way that feels more natural to you.

Why treatment really helps

Once you’ve got a reliable diagnosis and have decided to intervene, you’re on your way to avoiding unnecessary falls. With improved informational input from your hearing sense, you’ll be more aware of your surroundings and thus less likely to be caught unawares. Opting for a hearing aid can also help to usher folks back into a social community setting, such as a Senior Center, YMCA, or walking group in which physical activity can be used to practice balance and stability.

And it’s all a balancing act

Beyond diagnosing and treating any hearing loss, there are other ways to pad your lifestyle so that falls are less of an imminent danger. Bring up your concerns about fall risks with your physician. If balance has become more difficult for you lately, they can take a look at current medications and lifestyle habits to see if there’s something in there that is weakening your ability to maintain balance or feel stable when moving.

Other good balancing habits

There are a number of physical activities that really help to improve balance. You could take a very progressive route and practice falling like the Dutch prescribe. Many senior centers have fitness classes designed for the 65+ crowd that will cater to special needs of this age group, such as balance practice. Strengthening the core, with exercises such as sit ups or planks, also assist with balance and stability when moving.

If you’re feeling like you’d like to add some mindfulness into your exercise, yoga is great for balance. It also quiets the mind and offers a way to deal with stress, emotional or mental. People who live with hearing loss often use yoga as a tool to deal with the increased effort and thus frustration that sometimes comes from living in such a verbal culture.

Visit Us at Atlanta Hearing Doctor

Are you concerned about your hearing abilities and how they may be affecting your well-being? Contact us at Atlanta Hearing Doctor for a consultation and hearing test today.