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Fall Prevention Awareness Day

Make every day Fall Prevention Day

Happy first day of fall! With the arrival of of this beautiful season, let’s take a look at a different kind of fall — one that can change your life forever.

How are falls and hearing loss connected? The answer might surprise you. In a 2012 landmark study by Johns Hopkins, researchers determined that even a mild degree of hearing loss tripled the risk of an accidental fall, with the risk increasing by 140 percent for every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss. A study from Washington University in St. Louis showed that patients who wear hearing aids in both ears did better on balance tests when their hearing aids were turned on than when turned off.

Falls by the numbers

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • More than 25,500 deaths every year are caused by falls.
  • Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly.
  • Injuries from falls are the main reason people end up in a nursing home.
  • One-third of Americans aged 65+ fall each year.
  • Every 13 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.
  • Falls result in more than 2.5 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually.
  • Falls lead to over 734,000 hospitalizations per year.
  • Adjusted for inflation, the direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion annually.

The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

How hearing aids help

Not getting regular hearing tests is a simple mistake many of us make that can increase our risk of falling. Falls, even ones that do not cause significant injuries, such as a broken hip, can still have a negative impact on quality of life. Fear of falling can lead to an avoidance of new people and places, leading to depression, frustration, and isolation. Slip and fall incidents don’t have to be part of the aging process. That’s where wearing a hearing aid may help make difference.

Hearing aids are designed to assist with processing sounds that may have been taken for granted in the past, like the sound of footsteps on different flooring surfaces and how that sound differs between hard and soft soled shoes. Pets underfoot, throw rugs, wet floors, and slippery stairs are only part of the equation. Click here for a free downloadable copy of fall prevention tips from the Centers for Disease Control. Don’t forget to add a hearing test to the top of the list!

Even after safety-proofing your home, the decrease in sensory feedback from the ears to the brain can also contribute to stumbling, an overall lack of balance, and potentially dangerous falls without any obvious obstacle, cause, or explanation.

According to Dr. Frank Lin, author of the John Hopkins study, hearing loss might increase the risk of falls due to cognitive load, leaving the brain overwhelmed with demands on its limited resources. “Gait and balance are things most people take for granted, but they are actually very cognitively demanding,” notes Lin. “If hearing loss imposes a cognitive load, there may be fewer cognitive resources to help with maintaining balance and gait.”

The first steps

Make the most of your cognitive abilities. Take your hearing health seriously. Protect your hearing now; get your hearing tested in regular intervals. Select hearing aids that best fit your lifestyle and budget. And wear them. You’ll be happier and safer if you do.

Enjoy a more balanced life through better hearing. MDHearingAid stands behind every one of our hearing aids with a 45-day risk-free in home trial, 100% money-back guarantee and unprecedented 24 hours a day, 7 days a week customer support.