Hearing Loss May Affect Balance

Julia Little  |  March 9, 2012

Falling is a common problem among many seniors, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that one out of every three people over the age of 65 falls each year. Typically, the causes of a fall are related to vision problems, arthritis or simply a degenerating physical condition.

However, new research has shown that the loss of hearing may also contribute to falls among seniors. Frank Lin of John Hopkins University and his colleague Luigi Ferrucci at the National Institute for Aging examined data from the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which gathered research data on seniors from across the country.

Lin and Ferrucci found that seniors who had indicated mild hearing loss of at least 25 decibels were three times as likely to have a history of falls. For every 10 decibels further lost, the risk of falling increased by 40 percent.

Falls are one of the more challenging incidents for a caregiver to overcome, as there's not all that much they can do to prevent falls in the future. Many turn to senior care communities in order to ensure that their loved ones will be under supervision and can get help quickly if a fall does occur.

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