Most of us remember a time when we would (literally) fall down and get right back up. But this doesn’t seem to be the case as we get older. Falling can be one of the most devastating events in an adult’s life and can lead to the loss of independence, or worse. In the past decade, the ‘fall death rate’ (i.e., the death of an older adult directly attributed to a fall) has risen over 30%, and in the next decade it is estimated that there will be seven fall deaths per hour in the U.S. For more in-depth information on the risk of falling, please visit us at www.excellenceinaudiology.org.
Many adults assume feeling off-balance and falling is a normal part of aging, but it is not.
Diagnosing and reducing a patient’s risk of falling is an important part of the work done by hearing healthcare specialists across the www.excellenceinaudiology.org network.
There is not just one reason that older adults fall more often, rather a complicated web of changes in blood pressure, nutrition, medication interactions, vision problems and hearing loss that contribute to this increased risk. Although most people don’t instantly think of hearing loss as being a leading cause of falls, the data is clear - a person’s risk of falling can increase by 140-500% with hearing loss (depending on the severity of the loss). Fortunately, we have the tools to treat our patients and help them dramatically reduce their risk of falling.
Hearing health seems to be one of the areas of our overall health that gets pushed aside until later. We procrastinate, thinking our hearing exam can be pushed off until next week, next month, next year. In fact, the average adult waits up to 7 years to schedule an appointment after noticing difficulty with hearing. This can have lasting effects, including a major fall.
Mild hearing loss typically happens over time and can be gradual and painless. It may feel as though people around you are mumbling or like your ears are plugged (kind of the same as after you’ve had a nice swim in the pool). If you have trouble hearing when there is a lot of background noise, you probably have a mild hearing loss.
Do you find that you are listening more carefully to conversations?
Do you expend extra energy to understand what is being said?
All of this is attributed to mild hearing loss and can lead to fatigue and other costly ailments. If you can relate to any of the above, it’s time to catch it early and treat it early.
One of those costly ailments is the risk of falling with hearing loss.
Practical Solutions for Safety From Falls
First and foremost is to treat your hearing loss! The price of a fall is much more expensive than treating your hearing loss.
Fact: more than 3 million people per year are treated for fall-related injuries, and over $30 billion is spent per year in Medicare and individual costs. That’s alarming!
Once you are working with a hearing health care specialist, there are certain steps you can take to prevent falls.
- Fall-proof your home. Remove clutter, throw rugs, items on stairs, pet toys, electrical cords, etc.
- For nighttime, use nightlights to see better. Keep lamps at your bedside. Install handrails, keep frequently used items within reach.
- For showers, use anti-slip mats, install grab bars, use a shower/tub chair.
- Stay active. Keep your muscles and joints healthy to help with good balance.
- Use a cane, walker or wheelchair when needed.
- Wear low heals and/or sensible shoes that have good support.
- When standing or sitting up, take a minute and go slow. Dizziness can cause falls.
Nutrition and Your Fall Risk: Vitamin K2 + D3:
Potassium (K2) and Vitamin D3 are important nutrients the body needs to properly absorb calcium in the bones. Strong bones can help reduce the risk of a devastating fall in older adults. In addition, supplementation with Vitamin D may reduce the incidence of advanced cancer, and reduce inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.
Preventing Decline has a special vitamin K2+D3 supplement that ensures superior absorption of each supplement when taken together. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium in your bones to maintain bone health as you age, while vitamin K helps maintain a healthy circulatory system. Weak and brittle bones are often associated with bone breaks and fractures in older adults after a fall. The Preventing Decline Vitamin K2+D3 supplement activates proteins that support the elasticity of blood vessels and directs calcium to your bones. When taken together, Vitamin K2 and D3 work more effectively to support bone health and vascular function. Adults looking to feel their strongest and prevent the devastating effects of a fall, are recommended to take Vitamin K2+D3 complex.
So, now we know that falls are a serious matter and are preventable. We also know that hearing loss increases the risk of falling and that treating hearing loss reduces that risk and helps to keep older adults in their home and remain independent. I want you to live a full and active life without the fear of falling. Please stay vigilant, modify your home, continue to exercise, take your supplements, and increase your awareness of risks and prevention. You can live a confident, social, and happy life as you age.
For more information, please make an appointment with your audiologist today, or contact us at www.excellenceinaudiology.org to have all of your questions answered before it is too late.