Help, I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Hear You: The Link Between Balance and Hearing Loss
If you have experienced a recent fall or have felt a lack of balance when standing and walking, it is important to discover the underlying cause of these issues. One of the essential tests to be run is a thorough hearing exam.
Although many health issues are more obvious and therefore cannot be put off or ignored (such as loss of vision, breathing issues and major aches and pains), hearing loss is often gradual and not as apparent.
The Facts: Balance and Hearing Loss
- People with mild (25-decibel) hearing loss are three times more likely to have a history of falling.
- Every 10 decibels of loss increases the chances of falling by nearly 1.5 times.
- The inner ear canals which send signals to the brain are an essential part of movement and balance.
- Loss of hearing creates a lack of awareness of our surroundings, leading to a greater chance of tripping, stumbling and falling.
- Hearing loss is common but under treated in older adults
- Only 14% of older adults with hearing loss used a hearing aid
Do You Have Hearing Loss?
You may begin to notice you are missing parts of conversations or are unable to pick out closer, softer sounds from among louder, background noise. Friends and family may remark on your louder television or radio volumes, and finally, you could experience lack of balance, stumbling, and dangerous falls without obvious explanation or cause. You may even find yourself avoiding events and gatherings in order to steer clear of uncomfortable or embarrassing experiences.
Due to this gradual and often unnoticeable change in your hearing, smaller problems created by this damage or loss can often become larger issues which seem to suddenly appear and cannot be ignored.
It is important to not be put off or embarrassed by being diagnosed with what may be mild to moderate loss of hearing. Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition affecting older adults, and you are in the company of over 30 million people with the same issue.
Your effort to have your hearing tested and consequently wearing properly fitted, effective hearing aids can not only help you prevent further improper balance and falling, but also can enrich your life with the improved connections among your family, friends and colleagues.
More than 90% of people who are diagnosed with hearing loss can benefit from a properly fitted hearing device, and the earlier the diagnosis, the more success you will find in being fitted with a hearing aid that will not only be discreet and affordable, but will also help provide you with years of better balance, function and lifestyle.
Don’t wait – get your hearing tested today and be on your way to a safer, more ‘balanced’ life tomorrow!