Did you know that hearing loss can increase the risk of falls? Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted a study involving 14 elderly individuals aged 65 to 91, all experiencing varying degrees of hearing impairment.
In a balance test conducted with their hearing aids both on and off, the participants exhibited an average stability duration of 17 seconds with aids off, compared to nearly 26 seconds with aids on.
While this study had a relatively small sample size, it revealed for the first time that sound itself (relative to the inner ear's balance system) contributes to maintaining body balance.
A study by Dr. Franklin at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that the risk of falls in individuals with hearing loss is three times higher than those with normal hearing. For every 10 decibels of increased hearing loss, the probability of falling increases by 1.4 times.
Most people associate ears solely with hearing sounds.
However, ears have two main functions: hearing and balance.
Hearing is easily understood - hearing, comprehending, and understanding. Balance refers to our daily bodily movements, such as standing, leaning, moving right or left, which are managed by the vestibular organs in the inner ear.
With hearing loss, our perception of the surrounding environment, sound, and balance diminishes, leading to an increased risk of falls.
Hearing loss not only affects our physical balance but also impacts cognitive function. After experiencing hearing loss, attention is primarily focused on listening, resulting in a reduction in balance and gait functions, inadvertently increasing the risk of stumbling and falling.
Therefore, prompt intervention is crucial when ear issues arise. For those with hearing loss in both ears, wearing hearing aids in both ears is essential. Through the use of hearing aids, timely improvement of both hearing and balance can be achieved, reducing the risk of falls.
Hearing decline is not exclusive to the elderly; even young individuals face the risk of hearing loss. Prolonged use of high-decibel headphones or frequent exposure to loud environments (such as KTVs or concerts) can impact hearing.
People with chronic ear conditions, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol are also at risk of hearing loss.
It is recommended for everyone to undergo annual hearing tests to detect and intervene in hearing loss early on.