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MAY

Posted on Monday, May 07, 2012

Untreated Hearing Loss Increases Risk of Falls

Tilted picture of couple dancing demonstrates risk of falls associated with untreated hearing loss.

Untreated hearing loss has been linked to cognitive difficulties like Alzheimer's and dementia, an increased risk for social and emotional problems, and now a new study shows it creates a greater likelihood that people will encounter the severe problems associated with sudden falls. The recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins and funded by the National Institute on Health found that untreated hearing loss led to a 3x greater likelihood of falls and that this likelihood continued to increase with every 10 db rise in hearing loss.

2,017 people age 40 to 69 participated in the study conducted by Johns Hopkins and Funded by the National Institute of Health that showed the relationship between hearing loss and falling. The study results confirmed that even people with mild hearing loss were three times more likely to report a history of falling down.

Unexpectedly hitting the ground can cause damage to back, muscles, the neck, and can even be fatal.

The CDC reports that in 2009, " emergency departments treated 2.2 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults; more than 582,000 of these patients had to be hospitalized." So not only is this a serious health issue, but it is a serious expense--far greater than treating hearing loss.

Even the mild hearing loss of study participants caused a triple increase in dramatic falls and this increase held true despite the exclusion of severe hearing loss and other physical reasons like age, heart disease, and vestibular balance issues. In addition, for every 10 db rise in hearing loss their was a corresponding 1.4 fold rise in the reported incidents of falling. How can something like hearing loss contribute to falls? Well, not only do hearing and balance go hand and hand, but the mind is taxed by the additional stress put on it by HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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