Have you ever took a moment to consider the relationship between hearing loss and falls? We feel like it is an important topic to discuss with our readers, so we did our research. The main research we came across was a study which was done a couple of years ago at Johns Hopkins by Researcher, Dr. Frank Lin and Dr. Luigi Ferrucci of the National Institute on Aging.
The “Hearing Loss and Falls Among Older Adults in the United States” study consisted of 2,017 participants ranging from the ages of 40 to 69 years old. The researchers used some the health data which was gathered from the 2001 to 2004 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. During those specific years, the 2,017 participants had their hearing tested and answered questions relating to whether or not they had fallen in the past year. The participants also had their vestibular function, a measure of how well they kept their balance, tested.
In the end, Dr. Frank Lin and Dr. Luigi Ferrucci concluded that there is a special link between hearing loss and falls. They found that the participants with a 25-decibel hearing loss (also known as Mild Hearing Loss) were three times more likely to have a history of falling. Dr. Lin explained that “every additional 10-decibals of hearing loss increased the chances of falling by 1.4 fold”. Throughout the study, the results stayed consistent even when the researchers took into consideration other factors such as; age, sex, race, cardiovascular disease and vestibular function.
Dr. Lin suggests that a possible explanation for this is due to the fact that people with hearing loss may not have a good awareness of the environment around them. They may not be paying direct attention to obstacles that could be in their way.
For more information on this study CLICK HERE.