Hearing loss increases the likelihood of a fall, which can lead to bodily harm, hospital stays, and expensive medical bills.
According to the CDC, Florida’s total medical cost of older adult falls was nearly $4 billion in 2014. And $458 million of that was paid by private insurance or out-of-pocket funds.
Treating your hearing loss can help you reduce your risk of falls and long-term injuries. Learn more about how your hearing loss can affect your balance.
Balance And The Inner Ear
Your inner ear helps regulate balance. The inner ear’s semicircular canals are three loops that sense up and down, side to side, and tilting movements. Tiny hair cells detect these movements and send signals to your brain for interpretation.
Loud noises and age-related hearing loss can damage hair cells and reduce your ability to balance yourself. Good hearing helps you develop a mental map of your surroundings, especially if other senses, like vision, are inhibited. You’ll be less likely to run into or trip over something when your senses give you a clear idea of your surroundings.
Reduce The Risk Of Falls
Here are a few ways you can reduce your risk of falling:
Exercise regularly: Yoga, water aerobics, walking, and light strengthening exercises will improve your balance, coordination, and flexibility.
Move furniture: Keep coffee tables, footstools, and other small furniture out of walking paths around your home. You may also need to remove rugs to avoid tripping.
Monitor medications: Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy, so ask your doctor if there are alternatives without side effects.
Get a vision test: Have your vision checked at least once a year. Poor vision puts you at risk for tripping over things around the house and may affect your ability to drive safely.
Visit your audiologist: The link between hearing loss and imbalance reinforces the importance of regular hearing tests. Have your hearing tested annually and use hearing aids when recommended.