Hearing Loss Can Lead to Falls

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in senior citizens over the age of 65?

About 33% of senior citizens over the age of 65 experiences a fall each year which has the potential of leading to broken bones (hips being the most common fear), brain injuries, and unfortunately, fatalities. To prevent falls, physicians will typically advise their senior patients to exercise (to maintain muscle and bone mass), be aware of medications that may cause dizziness, and ensure that their vision and hearing are checked regularly.
 
Hearing Loss and Increased Risk of Falling
 
In fact, studies of seniors over the age of 65 indicate that untreated hearing loss is a common cause of falls and suggests that seniors schedule a hearing test as part of their regime in maintaining health and quality of life.
 
According to USNews.com, “People with a 25-decibel hearing loss (classified as mild) were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling than those with no hearing loss. Every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss meant an increased 1.4-fold risk of falling.”
 
Why hearing loss can lead to falls

  • Awareness: Seniors that suffer with untreated hearing loss are not completely aware of their surroundings
  • Brain overload: The ability of the brain to process thought, experience, and what the senses are telling it becomes compromised due to overload. While the brain is focusing heavily on balance and gait, it is working harder and harder to process sound
  • Poor balance: Hearing disorders can lead to poor balance because they can compromise the vestibular system which is in charge of processing sensory information related to balance and eye movement.