According to a study conducted at John Hopkins, individuals between the ages of 40 and 69 who had mild hearing issues were three times more likely to have reported falling within the last year. If the hearing loss is greater, the risk of falling increases. Both audiologists and physical therapists report the connection between balance and hearing loss.
Hearing Loss And Your Health
If you care for a senior, not only do you need to monitor their risk for falling, but check on their hearing as well. The two are intertwined.
You don’t have to be a senior to have hearing loss and balance disorders. Many body systems must work properly for you to have normal balance. The muscles, bones, joints, eyes, and your balance organ in the inner ear must all work normally for you to have normal balance. If there is an issue with any of these systems, you can experience balance disorders.
Types Of Balance Disorders
Balance disorders make you feel dizzy or unsteady. This can happen when sitting, standing, or lying down. You can feel like you are moving, spinning, or floating.
This is a disorder of the inner ear that causes dizziness like vertigo, ringing in the ears or tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of a full or congested ear. Although a rare condition, it is more common in those aged 20 to 40.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo occurs when calcium crystals in the inner ear are dislodged from their normal position and move elsewhere inside the inner ear. BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo in adults. You may feel a spinning sensation when you turn in bed or tilt your head back to look upward.
Untreated Hearing Loss
Besides the professional and social frustrations associated with untreated hearing loss, we now know this same hearing loss leads to balance disorders and a higher risk of falling.
No matter your age, from young professional to senior, being evaluated for hearing loss is the first step to both improving hearing and preventing balance issues.
Two Prong Treatment
Getting hearing aids is the best thing you can do for both your self esteem and safety. Today’s aids are virtually invisible and no one will know you are wearing them.
You may also want to investigate some physical therapy to revitalize your visual system, muscular system, and the balance organ located in the inner ear. All three must be working properly to prevent falls and increase balance.
Contact Southern California Ear, Nose & Throat for an auditory evaluation to determine your level of hearing loss.