Comorbidities of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss and Fall prevention

Hearing loss is linked to six major comorbid conditions. Research has found that it can be connected to several medical, social, and cognitive ills, including dementia. The major condition that is widely researched is dementia but there are others you should be aware of. These conditions include balance problems and falls, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, social isolation and loneliness, and depression. 

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Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among our aging population. Researchers at Johns Hopkins found that patients with a mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. 

Researchers suggest that patients with hearing loss are at a higher risk of falling because they lack awareness of their environment which can  increase their risk of tripping and falling. Our ability to hear helps us to locate which direction sound is coming from and how close or far away that object is through sound waves and how they interact with our body, ears, and head. Hearing loss diminishes these sounds and therefore impacts our ability to perceive how close or far away something is, therefore increasing the risk of falling.

Another possibility that researchers have found is similar to what they concluded in their study with hearing loss and dementia. According to Dr. Lin at Johns Hopkins, “Gait and balance are things most people take for granted, but they are actually very cognitively demanding.” Hearing loss is also cognitively demanding leaving fewer cognitive resources to help maintain proper balance and gait. 

Falls can impact quality of life. Many older adults fear falling, which can limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further impacts on their health including depression, and social isolation, another comorbidity of hearing loss!

Hearing loss is not just a consequence of getting older but is linked to a number of psychosocial and physiological conditions.

If you suspect you are suffering from a hearing loss it can greatly impact your overall health. Contact us to schedule a hearing test. Treating hearing loss can help you stay healthy for years to come.