Treating Hearing Loss May Help Prevent Falls & Accidents

Treating Hearing Loss May Help Prevent Falls & Accidents

We can plan all we want but accidents happen—in fact, that’s why we call them accidents. However, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of making mistakes. Some accidents can be recovered from and used as a learning experience, however, in the United States, 1 out of every 20 deaths are caused by mistake. No one plans to make an accident—still they can be attributed to approximately 30 million Emergency Room visits annually. That is nearly one in 10 people, who will have to visit the emergency room, just this year. While this is alarming, one thing is for sure, by addressing a possible hearing loss you can lower your risk of accidents significantly.

Orienting Yourself in Your Surroundings

We navigate the world safely using our senses including our sight, smell and feel. Hearing is more essential to our overall health and safety than many of us first suspect. We use both our ears to communicate to our brain the direction of sounds. When sounds come from the left side our left ear picks up the sound first and sends it to our brain. When sounds come from the right the right ear receives it first. This process is called sound localization, and it not only helps us identify the proximity, direction and approaching speed of sound, it helps us stay safe.

The Importance of Hearing with Two Ears

When one or both our ears have hearing loss it can start to get confusing. For instance sound coming from the right ear when hearing loss is present creates what is known as a head shadow. This is not only disorienting but can lower our reaction time, putting us at risk for more accidents. This can be a problem as a pedestrian, as a driver or at work. It’s important to remember that you just aren’t putting yourself at risk but everyone around you.

Hearing Loss Makes You Less Likely to Hear Alerts

Not only are you less likely to react to a potential disaster in time but you are less alert of warning signs around you. Most people with age related hearing loss or noise induced hearing loss, the two most common types, often struggle to hear high frequencies. This means it’s easy to miss oven alarms, doorbells, home security alarms and phone alerts which can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations. 

Balance Problems

Our auditory system or balance system is housed in the same part of the brain and shares similar functions and methods for communicating with the brain. When something goes wrong with your auditory system it can also affect your balance as well, causing dizziness and uncontrollable vertigo.

Longer Healing Times as We Age

When your balance is off center due to an inner ear issue, it can increase the risk of accidents and injuries- something that can be detrimental as we age. When we are young we can fall down and often simply brush ourselves off. As we grow older our bones and joints aren’t as strong as they used to be. A simple fall could cause a breakage of bone which would have been of no issue, a decade or two before. We may also suffer from slower recovery times as we age. 

Testing for Inner Ear Issues

The best way to avoid injury and an increase in accidents is to test your hearing regularly, screen for hearing loss and treat it if it’s detected. Don’t let your hearing health and balance decline unchecked. The best way to minimize the risk of developing problems and explore potential inner ear issues connected to compromised balance is to screen and address hearing loss as soon as possible.

The Statistics

Past studies have found that one out of every six people who reported an accident within a three-month window also self-reported some degree of hearing loss. The study found based on the test group that people with hearing were 50 percent more likely to suffer an injury from an accident, when compared to those with normal hearing.

Addressing a Hearing Loss

While most cases of hearing loss are permanent, the most common treatment is hearing aids. Hearing aids enhance your hearing, so it not only helps you to hear the people around you and improve communication but helps you to be more alert of your surroundings. If you are concerned about your safety due to a perceived hearing loss, it’s important to schedule a hearing consultation right away. Schedule your next appointment today.