February 26, 2024

Falls & Accidents Are More Likely with Hearing Loss

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Did you know that living with untreated hearing loss increases your risk of having a fall or accident? A recent study lists yet one more reason why treating hearing loss early is important. Not only will you improve communication, stay mobile, and have a higher overall quality of life, you’ll also lower your risk of accidental injury.

Studying Hearing Loss and Accidents

A recent study looked at the link between hearing loss and accidents, and Hossein Mahboubi from the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of California, Irvine, examined data from the National Health Interview Survey for the years 2007 to 2015. What he found was that those with hearing loss were twice as likely to have an accidental injury than their hearing peers! For anyone with clear hearing, the rate of accidental injury is about 2% at both work and leisure activities. For those with hearing loss, that number soared to 4%.

This study clearly demonstrates the link between hearing health and injuries. “One can assume that if someone’s hearing is not great,” explains Mahboubi, “if something comes their way like a baseball, or if they’re cycling out there and there’s a car horn getting close to them, they may not be able to hear that, and that theoretically can increase the possibility of getting injured.”

Accident Prone

If you have hearing loss, you’re risking your health and safety, as well as the safety of those around you. The study found that those with hearing loss were more likely to be in a car accident, and get injured while playing sports. Interestingly, those struggling to hear were more likely to get injured during leisure activities, but those with clear hearing faced more workplace accidents. The researchers think this could be explained because those with hearing loss are aware of the dangers of their hearing, and could be extra cautious at work, but let their guard down when away from the jobsite.

Finally, people with mild hearing loss were more likely to have an accident or fall than those with moderate or severe hearing loss! Mahboubi explained that this was an “eye-opening” experience, and that after those with mild hearing loss had an accident, they were far more careful, so that even when their hearing loss became more severe, they were less likely to have accidents.

Reducing the Risk of Accidents

To reduce your risk of accidents, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, and watch for any warning signs. This could be an emergency siren, a warning honk, or someone yelling to you from across the street. At work and during leisure activities, always stay alert, and make sure you’re noticing everything around you.

Treating Hearing Loss

If those with hearing loss are far more likely to be hurt, why aren’t more people treating their hearing loss? Mahboubi says it could be part of a much bigger issue. “There’s a lot being said about hearing loss, probably everybody knows about it, but it may not be enough, because still, there are people who are out there who have hearing difficulty, and they’re not being evaluated properly… And considering everything, I think there’s more room for improvement with respect to increasing awareness among the public and also among the doctors that hearing loss needs to be taken more seriously.”

If you or a loved one has hearing loss, hearing loss treatment is the best thing you can do for your safety. You’ll be able to hear all the sounds around you, localize where sounds are coming from, and be more spatially aware. This will lower your risk of falls or accidents, and you’ll protect your safety.

Hearing Consultants

Do you want to reduce your risk of fall and accidents? Visit us today at the Hearing Consultants, and keep yourself, your coworkers, and your loved ones safe. A quality pair of hearing aids will give you increased awareness, and you’ll be alert to everything that’s happening around you. You’ll be able to hear all the sounds around you, and identify safety hazards before you get injured. Not only will you be safer, you’ll be able to follow conversations easily, strengthen your relationships, and enjoy spending quality time with the people that matter the most to you.

Dr. Teague earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Hearing, Speech and Language from Ohio University and his Doctoral Degree in Audiology from The University of Louisville. He is an active member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Board of Audiology.

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