There are so many benefits to using hearing aids. It has been shown that hearing devices improve relationships, increase work performance and lead to a better quality of life. But did you know that another way hearing instruments can benefit you is by improving your safety?
Hearing devices can reduce risk of falls and injuries
The most common cause of nonfatal injury in every age group is falling down (secondsensehearing.com). Considering 33 million Americans require medical attention due to injuries each year, this is an issue that can affect you at any stage of life.
Untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of falls and injuries, especially in the elderly. Studies show that even mild hearing loss can triple the risk of falling, likely due in part to less awareness of the surrounding environment. These risks double again with moderate, untreated hearing loss.
As one of three people aged 65 and older falls every year – but only half tell their doctor – this is an important consideration if you fall within this age bracket, especially because falling once then doubles your risk of falling again. That being said, falls can lead to injury at any age.
How ‘cognitive overload’ can affect your risk of injury
That’s because another factor that contributes to an increased risk of falling is something known as ‘cognitive overload’, which affects people at any age who suffer from hearing impairments.
With untreated hearing loss, the brain can become overwhelmed by the extra effort it takes to concentrate on speech and the surrounding environment. This makes the brain fatigued, which may be a contributing factor to the clear links between untreated hearing loss and higher incidence of falls.
Considering hearing instruments can help protect against these injuries at any age, it is important to think about how children who suffer from hearing loss may be affected too.
How hearing aids can improve children’s safety
Injury is the leading cause of death amongst children in the United States, so anything that may raise the risk of children’s exposure to injury is a concern. Studies suggest that hearing loss may leave children at higher risk for injury than their non-hearing impaired counterparts.
Hearing devices can assist to ensure that children with hearing impairments are safer.
It makes sense – hearing aids assist with detecting speech as well as sounds such as alarms, oncoming cars and other daily warning signals. Children are already prone to be less risk averse but children are even more susceptible without being able to detect the signs of those risks.
Hearing aids can prevent accidents
A better ability to detect warning signals is important for adults too. Stories abound where someone falls asleep with the stove on. If someone is suffering from severe hearing loss, there is a risk that in a fire, for instance, they may not hear the alarm. Hearing devices can help to make sure that you are aware of your surroundings and an impromptu mid-afternoon nap doesn’t lead to a very bad result!
Studies have shown that people who decide to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids, on the whole, believe that this decision led to a better sense of safety and independence.
Hearing instruments promote healthy aging through breaking down stereotypes
A very interesting and comprehensive article recently delved into the complicated links between hearing aids, aging and challenging stereotypes.
Through extensive research, the authors highlighted three attributes of the new aging population: (1) a positive outlook on life; (2) superior cognitive abilities; and (3) productive and adaptable workers.
Studies highlighted in the article show that older workers are less likely to make errors in the workplace and that people aged 65 and over have an exceptional ability to see issues from multiple perspectives – much more so than younger people. These attributes go a long way towards dispelling the traditional stereotypes of the elderly as grumpy and difficult!
With an active and engaged aging population, this means that hearing aids need to be able to adapt to individuals’ needs. Considering hearing devices contribute to a better quality of life, they clearly promote healthy aging but by breaking down stereotypes and working together, we can better suit your needs as you progress through life.
Dr. Howard Tamashiro, audiologist at Hearing Center of Hawaii, will work with you to find the perfect fit for your hearing needs.
Hearing Center of Hawaii
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