New Study Provides Insight into the Relationship between Auditory Function and Fall Risk

Recently, I came across an interesting study by Joseph Sakumura, Au.D. and Richard Gans, PhD, which was published by the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. The study suggests that improved cognitive, vestibular, and auditory functions can significantly reduce fall risks, which is wonderful news. I’m excited to share these insights with you!

I’m sure you know that falls present a substantial risk to older adults. Maybe you’ve experienced a fall yourself or know someone who has. Falls can lead to injuries, hospitalizations, and in some cases, fatalities. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows just how severe falls can be. In fact, over 800,000 hospitalizations and a staggering 27,000 deaths annually are attributed to falls in the United States.

But there is hope! Promising research shows that many falls could be mitigated among the elderly population by enhancing their cognitive, vestibular, and auditory functions.

The study involved 599 adults ranging from ages 18 to 89. It examined the connection between cognitive, vestibular, and auditory functions and the propensity for falls.

Two quotes from the study stood out as significant to me:

“Hearing loss is recognized as the number one modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline. Furthermore, patients with even mild cognitive impairment in domains of visuo-spatial processing, executive function, memory recall, and reaction times are 14 times more likely to have degraded postural stability and elevated fall risk.”

The second quote cites an additional study (Viljanen et al. 2009; Lin & Ferrucci 2012; Tin-Lok Jian, Li, & Agarwal, 2016): “Risk of falling is 3x higher in patients with hearing loss compared to those with normal hearing.”

To sum it all up, the study reinstates that falls are a serious health concern for older adults. However, recent research shows the potential of improved cognitive, vestibular, and auditory functions in significantly reducing fall risk.

As a hearing care professional, I love seeing more studies highlighting the importance of caring for your auditory health. I’m also excited that I get the opportunity to help older adults improve their hearing and maintain their balance every day.

Here at Inland Hearing Aids, our passion is helping you overcome hearing challenges so that you can live a more active, rewarding, and independent lifestyle. If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of hearing loss, or if you have any questions we may be able to answer, you can contact our friendly team at any of our locations: Moses Lake at (509) 765-4467, Omak at (800) 254-4467, and Ellensburg at (509) 962-8488. Or, request a callback.

We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Reduce Your Risk of Falls

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Dan Morehouse, HIS

As a hearing instrument specialist and owner of Inland Hearing Aids, Inc., Dan Morehouse has spent more than 20 years earning the trust of physicians, community organizations, and thousands of residents through providing top-level hearing care to Moses Lake and nearby communities.

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