The Link between Auditory Function and Fall Risk

The Link between Auditory Function and Fall Risk

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Industry News

Did you know that in 2020 alone, emergency departments documented three million visits from older adults that had fallen? (Source)

Every year, millions of older adults fall, whether it’s on slippery floors, steep stairs, or other home hazards. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again – and doing more injury to your head or your body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you’re reading this, chances are that you or a loved one has fallen recently, and you’re looking for ways to help reduce the risk of falling again. Falling is dangerous and scary, no matter your age, but for older adults, falling comes with far more potential complications.

Your balance is an important resource to keep in the best shape possible; quite often, balance disorders are due to vestibular function decline and other hearing loss challenges. Falling can be an unfortunate result of poor balance, but how do you avoid falling entirely?

I was doing some research into this recently myself and found an interesting study from the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology – a study that brings some hope to fall risk management and how to reduce the risk of falling entirely.

According to authors Joseph Sakamura, Au.D. and Richard Gans, PhD, cognitive, vestibular, and auditory functions have a considerable impact on fall risk management. By improving these functions, the chance of falling is significantly reduced.

A specific quote from the study caught my eye regarding how auditory functions can affect fall risk management:

“Patients with hearing loss should be counseled about the effect of untreated hearing loss on postural stability and the increased fall risk, even in individuals as young as 40 years of age.”

Falling and doing serious injury can happen to anyone, not just elderly people. Even a slip down the stairs that doesn’t seem to do much harm can leave you with residual effects later down the line.

Falls are a significant health concern for adults, but there are ways to lessen that risk by improving cognitive, auditory, and vestibular functions. The question is, how do you do that?

How Denton Hearing Healthcare Can Help You

The vestibular system is located within your inner ear and works to detect movement of your head or body. As you age, the vestibular system will naturally begin to age with you and occasionally bring about problems with your balance and hearing.

At Denton Hearing Healthcare, we offer balance tests that help you understand your current level of balance and prevent future falls.

By looking after your vestibular functions as you age, you can avoid falls that can be detrimental to your health and your body, making going up and down stairs less nerve-wracking.

Regular hearing assessments can also help improve your auditory functions; by checking out your current level of hearing and seeing what we can do to improve it, you’ll decrease your risk of a fall significantly.

If you’re concerned about your balance or a hearing challenge, feel free to contact us at (940) 387 0550, or request a callback here. We’d be happy to talk you through any concerns you have regarding your hearing.

Schedule Your Hearing Consultation

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Dr. Katie L. Kufeldt, Audiologist

Dr. Kufeldt received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences as well as her Doctorate of Audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology, Texas Academy of Audiology and is certified by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. She is licensed by the State of Texas to practice audiology and fit and dispense hearing aids.

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