Silencing Tinnitus, Securing Balance, Preventing Traumatic Falls
Did you know that tinnitus and significant hearing loss dramatically increase your risk of a traumatic fall? Click here to discover essential tips for reducing your risk of a traumatic fall www.excellenceinaudiology.org.
Falls are the #1 cause of injury-related deaths, lead to hospitalization, and can lead to the loss of independence. Falls are often associated with declines in physical, emotional, social, economic, and cognitive health. While falling can result from a variety of reasons – diabetic neuropathy, orthostatic hypotension (the dizzy feeling you get when you stand too quickly!), decline in physical fitness, impaired vision, medications, accidents, etc., - tinnitus and hearing loss are significant contributors to a person’s risk of falling.
A fall can threaten one’s safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal expenses. It is estimated that a fall can cost a family, on average, nearly $30,000 per incident. And, unfortunately, those who fall nearly double their risk of falling again. Perhaps one of the saddest realities of falls is that most adults who fall are later forced to leave their homes.
There is significant evidence to suggest that treating tinnitus and hearing loss can help reduce the risk of falling in older adults. The relationship between tinnitus, hearing loss and falls is multifaceted, but simply put, being able to hear everything around you can help you avoid a disastrous fall. Even the softest sounds in the world around us (i.e., footsteps, creaking floors, or the change of surface below our feet) help your brain understand your position in the world and keep up upright.
Treating your tinnitus and hearing loss and restimulating the ear-to-brain connections can help in several ways, including enhancing your ability to hear and understand sounds in your environment, improving auditory awareness and reducing the risk of accidents due to miscommunication or misunderstanding. Furthermore, treatment can help individuals better localize sounds and understand the direction from which sounds are coming, thus reducing the risk of tripping, or losing balance in situations where auditory cues are essential for safety. Improved awareness of environmental sounds like approaching vehicles and alarms allows for quicker and more appropriate reactions to potential hazards.
Additionally, by promoting social engagement and reducing isolation, treating your tinnitus and hearing loss enables you to remain active, preventing physical deconditioning and falls. Some studies even suggest that treatment leads to improvements in balance and gait, further reducing the risk of falls, especially in older adults.
Interestingly, some of the newest prescriptive technology used to treat tinnitus and hearing loss has fall detection technology embedded in it. Using built-in 3D sensors and AI, the technology you use to reduce your tinnitus and treat your hearing loss can detect when the user falls and alert friends and family. Many consider this new technology superior to traditional fall detectors worn around the neck or wrist. Fall detectors worn at ear level and linked to head movement are naturally less prone to mistake daily activities for falls than the devices worn on other parts of the body.
Here are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of falling:
- Exercise regularly.
- Make your home safer by removing tripping hazards.
- Discuss medications with your doctor that may make you dizzy or affect your balance.
- Have regular vision checks.
- Wear appropriate footwear.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration often leads to weakness and dizziness.
- Maintain a balanced diet. Proper nutrition leads to bone and muscle strength.
- Use canes, walkers, or wheelchairs if necessary for mobility.
- Consider a personal alert system or medical alert bracelet.
- Know your limitations.
- Stay mentally active.
- Be mindful of your environment.
- Participate in a fall prevention program.
- TREAT YOUR HEARING LOSS!
Click here to discover practical tips for minimizing your risk of a traumatic fall www.excellenceinaudiology.org.