Hearing Loss Puts People at Risk for Falls

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Hearing loss has been associated with an assortment of social, medical and cognitive ills which include dementia also. But a novel research which was led by Johns Hopkins recommends that the hearing loss might also be a threat factor for another health problem or falls. The results of the research could help the researchers in developing novel ways to avoid falls particularly in older people, and their resulting injuries which produces billions in US in health care costs each year. To ascertain if the falls and human hearing are connected, the researchers conducted a research and used the data from year 2001-2004. This research program has annually collected health data from thousand of Americans since the year 1971.

At those times, participants of age 40-69 had a hearing test and answered queries if they had fallen in past year. They also gathered demographic information which included age, gender, race and vestibular function of the tested participants. This was a measure of how well they kept balance. These conclusions were printed in an Archives of Internal Medicine. The researcher along with his colleague found that participants with hearing loss of 25 decibels, which is classified as moderate were 3 times more probable of having a history of falling. With increase in 10 decibels of hearing loss, the chances of falling increased by 1.4 fold.

This conclusion is still assumed to be true, when the researchers ascertained other reasons also like age, gender, race, vestibular function and cardiovascular disease. Even for the participants who had moderate to severe hearing loss, the analysis did not change the results. Another research says that among the possible explanations for the association is that individuals who can not hear might not have good awareness for their whole environment, thus making them more exposed to trip and fall.



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