The impacts of hearing loss on those who experience it are numerous, but we don’t often think about hearing’s role in causing accidents. Because our sense of balance is achieved by the delicate mechanisms of the inner ear, hearing loss can greatly affect our sense of balance and orientation in our surroundings. According to one study, even mild hearing loss can result in a 30% higher risk of a fall. Given that hearing loss is more prevalent among older people, many of whom also have diminished bone density, preventing hearing-related accidents as we age should be a top safety priority.
The good news is that there are plenty of precautions you can take to help prevent hearing-loss-related falls and accidents, as well as to lessen the potential for serious injury.
A good strength training regimen is known to build bone density, increase strength and improve balance. These things become increasingly important as we age, but it is a great idea to start early, especially if you also have hearing loss. Most gyms and fitness centers have trainers on staff who can help you develop a routine appropriate for your age, health and experience. For those with mobility issues or particular health concerns, talk to your doctor about referring a physical therapist who can work with you to develop a routine that works with your particular needs or challenges.
Fall-Proof Your Home
Especially if you’ve lived in the same home for a long time, it can be hard to see what hazards might present themselves as we age and/or experience changes to our hearing and eyesight. Look around and makes sure that you have wide passageways between furniture and keep them clear of clutter. Good lighting with easily accessible switches is crucial, and if you have throw rugs on hardwood floors, this is a good time to get rid of them. Finally, make sure that all railings are securely attached and install new ones in areas where you need them, such as the bathroom or shower.
Check out more tips on fall-proofing your home here.
Get Your Hearing Checked
Age-based hearing loss is often gradual, making it sometimes hard to notice, so it’s important to get your hearing checked regularly, even if you are not experiencing significant or sudden changes. Because hearing loss can affect balance and increase your chances of falling or other hearing-related accidents, be sure to see an audiologist to discuss hearing aids or other hearing assistance devices that can help keep you on your feet.
As with many age-related changes, getting ahead of the game and knowing what physical signs to look out for makes the ride much smoother and easier. Taking steps today to prevent hearing-related accidents will increase the chances that you’ll never have to recover from one.