Falls and Balance
Dizziness and balance problems increase significantly with age. Over 70% of those over age 65 seek treatment and one third of everyone over 65 will fall. (Center for Disease Control). Falls are the leading cause of death over age 65.
A recent study done by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging found that hearing loss significantly increase the risk of falling. The news could have far-reaching implications when it comes to preventing falls and maintaining independent lives.
There are several reasons why a decrease in hearing increases balance problems and the risk of falling. Hearing loss decreases awareness of of people, pets or other sounds in the environment. Spatial awareness, i.e. where the body is positioned in relation to other people and objects around it, and is crucial for maintaining gait and balance. In addition, many researchers point to cognitive overload as a hindrance to balance
Research as to whether hearing aids helped maintain balance were resoundingly conclusive – the results were overwhelmingly YES. Sound information alone, coming through the hearing aids, plays a large role in maintaining balance.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Get a baseline hearing test now. Make a list of your current medications. Report any balance, dizziness or vertigo issues and symptoms to your audiologist. Physical therapy, balance training and exercises are effective in treating 85% of all balance and dizziness problems. If you have any balance, hearing or clarity problems, seek treatment immediately.
Dr. Ronna Fisher, Au.D.
Founder & President
Hearing Health Center, Inc.