Falls and Accidents Are More Likely with Hearing Loss

an older patient sitting during a hearing examination

Many accept hearing loss as a natural part of the aging process and decide to simply live with the condition. While it is true that our ability to hear can reduce as a result of age, this does not mean you cannot do something about it. 

Experiencing hearing loss can disrupt your life. When your hearing starts to decline, you may find it harder to hear conversations when background noise is present, and you may not be able to hear everyday sounds around you. These changes may not sound like a big deal, but they can significantly impact your quality of life if you don’t do anything about it. There is no doubt that hearing loss can be inconvenient, but did you know that it could potentially be dangerous too?

Hearing loss can increase your chances of having accidents or falls, which is why it is vital to get your hearing loss assessed. Your hearing is such a powerful sense and one that is relied on throughout everyday life. So, it makes sense that your chances of having an accident or injury increase when you experience hearing loss.

A U.S. study assessed the relationship between hearing loss and accidental injury by asking participants to rate their hearing ability and then asked whether they had experienced an accidental injury in the past three months. The results of the study showed a conclusive link between hearing ability and the likelihood of accidental injury. The participants that reported they experienced a lot of trouble hearing were 90 percent more likely to have had an accidental injury than those who rated their hearing as excellent.

Reasons why accidents and falls are more likely with hearing loss

It seems logical there is a link between accidents and injury and hearing loss. But, how does hearing loss cause accidents and injuries? Well, hearing loss alone won’t directly cause an accident or injury to occur. However, hearing loss can be the contributing factor that prevents an accident or injury from being avoided. To put it another way, experiencing hearing loss could stop you from taking action to prevent an accident, or an accident could occur due to you not being able to hear in a dangerous situation. Here are some of the reasons why accidents and falls could be more likely with hearing loss:

Reduced awareness

When you are experiencing hearing loss, you may not even notice you have reduced awareness of your surroundings and what is happening around you. For example, you may not hear people shouting at you as a warning to move if a dangerous situation unfolds. You may also miss hearing the sound of a car or motorcycle when you are about to cross the road. There are hundreds of instances every day where people rely on their hearing to make sense of their surroundings and stay safe. Being unable to hear the sounds of everyday life can impact your awareness and put you at risk of an accident.

Unable to hear warning sounds

Alarms play an essential role in keeping us safe. Warning sounds alert us to danger and help keep us safe in many everyday situations. Fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors alert us to potentially fatal situations both at home and in public buildings. The beeping sound when a truck reverses is there to keep us safe and to alert us to the fact that the driver may not have seen us. The beeping noise enables us to hear that a truck is reversing before we have even seen it. Likewise, the noise of a siren on an emergency response vehicle tells us to move out the way and let them get past. If you cannot hear the siren and you are driving along, you could cause an obstruction that results in an accident, or you could cause a delay that prevents the emergency workers from responding to their call.

As you can see, there are lots of reasons that accidents and falls are more likely to happen when you experience hearing loss. Without the ability to hear, you are dependent on your other senses to keep you safe, which is not always possible. If you are experiencing hearing loss, don’t wait for an accident or fall to happen, visit a hearing instrument specialist to get it checked out. 

The Hearing Aid Place can help to find you the perfect hearing aids for your needs. To learn more about us and find out about our services, call us at 510-768-7091.