In 2012, Johns Hopkins researchers found that people with impaired hearing had up to a three-fold higher risk of falling.
There are two studies being done trying to solve the problem by improving the hearing of study participants. The idea is based on our knowledge that hearing loss and falls may be connected because the ears play a central role in balance. People’s sense of balance depends specifically on the vestibular system in the inner ear.
Previous research on falls has generally focused on visual, cognitive, or motor impairments. However, there is growing evidence that hearing loss may increase a person’s risk of falling.
One of the lead researchers, Lynda Thibodeau of the University of Texas-Dallas, said she anticipated that hearing aids will have a positive impact — because they will free up cognitive resources and make them available to devote to balance when hearing aids are worn. She is currently observing individuals in a variety of situations before drawing final conclusions.
To schedule an appointment with your local Beltone office, call 1-800-Beltone or take our online hearing test.