Balancing involves many parts of the body and is largely supported by the vestibular system in the inner ear, which receives the signal of every head movement and sends to the brain to decipher. The coordination of balancing and gait is complicated and can be very cognitively demanding.
The studies by Dr Frank Lin, an associate professor of John Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institute of Health in the United States discovered a direct correlation between prolonged untreated hearing loss and higher risks of unexpected falls, even at a mild degree of hearing impairment. The chances of having a history of falls are reported to be three times higher in those with a mild hearing loss, and this further increases by 1.4 times with every additional 10-decibels of hearing loss.
When hearing loss is left uncorrected, one has to take extra efforts to focus attention in daily conversations, especially in challenging listening situations. As the situation of demanding listening persists, both physical and mental states become exhausted. The cognitive resources which have eventually reduced due to prolonged fatigue, potentially affects the concentration in overall surrounding awareness, leading to higher chances of tripping and falls.
Maintaining an alert, healthy cognitive function is thus particularly important in the older population. Having regular hearing assessment is recommended to support healthy aging. Should there be a hearing loss determined at any point in time, hearing aids could be one good option to improve daily interactions and to sustain overall quality of life. Although hearing aids are not going to prevent falls completely, an adequate and appropriate amplification will help to increase attention and improve brain function, as well as to ease the condition of cognitive overload in the long run.
At Clariti, our dedicated hearing care professionals commit to hear your needs and help you and your next-of-kin to achieve more fulfilling and happier lives. We strongly believe that every individual is unique and the wish to hear well is to live well. With a complete hearing evaluation, we provide you with a clear understanding of hearing health status and useful information on the best possible solution. You are welcome to contact Clariti for any query or to book an appointment for a free hearing consultation.
1. “Falls Prevention”, March 2012, Health in Aging, 20 August 2016 <http://www.healthinaging.org/aging-and-health-a-to-z/topic:falls/info:unique-to-older-adults/>.
2. “Hearing Loss and the Risk of Unexpected Falls”, January 2014, People Better Hearing, 21 August 2016 <http://phb.secondsensehearing.com/content/hearing-loss-and-risk-unexpected-falls>.
3. “People with Hearing Loss at Increased Risk for Falls”, March 2012, Healthy Hearing, 21 August 2016 <http://www.healthyhearing.com/content/news/Research/Hearing-loss/50051-People-with-hearing-loss-at-increased-risk-for-falls>
4. “Falls and Older Adults: Causes and Risk Factors”, 2013, National Institute of Health – Senior Health, 21 August 2016 <http://nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/causesandriskfactors/01.html>
5. “Fall Prevention Tips”, March 2014, SPD, 20 August 2016 <http://www.spd.org.sg/updates/detail/fall-prevention-tips-73.html>