When you think of the consequences of untreated hearing loss, you probably think of the social aspects like trouble following conversations and frequently mishearing people. But did you know that untreated hearing loss can also impact your safety? One study uncovered the extent of this risk.
About the Study
The study was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 2018. The researchers sought to answer the question: “Is hearing difficulty associated with a risk of accidental injuries?”
To answer this question, researchers examined data from 232.2 million adults who responded to questions related to hearing and injury for the National Health Interview Survey between 2007 and 2015.
The researchers found that those who reported “a little trouble hearing” were 60% more likely to have experienced an injury than those with normal hearing, those with “moderate trouble” were 70% more likely and those with “a lot of trouble” were 90% more likely.
Why the Link Between Hearing Loss & Injuries?
There are several reasons the risk of an injury is higher among those with a hearing impairment:
One reason is that if you can’t hear well, you’re more likely to miss out on important warning signals, like a car horn or someone shouting. In addition, if you have asymmetric hearing abilities, meaning one ear hears better than the other, you’ll have a tougher time identifying what direction a sound is coming from.
People with hearing loss are also more likely to experience listening fatigue. This means the person’s cognitive energy is used trying to hear and understand speech, leaving fewer resources to handle other tasks like gait and balance. According to one Johns Hopkins study, this increases the chance of experiencing a fall by up to three times for people with mild hearing loss.
Importance of Seeking Treatment
According to the study authors, “Increased awareness about hearing difficulty and its proper screening and management may assist in decreasing accidental injury.” This means seeking help for your hearing loss could prevent an injury when working out at Demand Great Health & Fitness or enjoying any of your other daily activities. For more information about the link between hearing loss and injuries, call Hampton Roads ENT today.