In America, hearing loss affects 1 in 3 people of the elderly population (65 years and older). After 75 years of age, approximately half of the elderly people in America have some type of hearing impairment. Hearing loss that results from advanced age is known as presbycusis.
A recent study reported that the frequency of hearing impairment appear to be declining over the previous decade in America. This holds true especially for adults between the ages of 20 and 69. This drastic reduction appears to be a result of increased awareness of the threats to hearing and engagement in hearing care and protection.
Despite the reduction in hearing loss rates, a significant percentage of Americans still refrain from using hearing aids despite having severe hearing loss. Any type of hearing impairment that is untreated poses severe psychological and physiological problems that can be detrimental to the general health of the person with hearing loss. Furthermore, even the earning capacity of those who seek no treatment for hearing loss appears to be drastically diminished due to their hearing impairment. Hearing loss also poses a severe risk and increased frequency of injuries resulting from accidental falls due to loss of equilibrium.
Our sense of equilibrium and balance stems from the auditory system in our bodies, primarily the ears. The fluid within the ears helps maintain our balance, and presbycusis can disrupt the amount of fluid, thereby diminish our sense of balance as we grow older.
A recent study from the Washington University School of Medicine located in St. Louis found that wearing hearing aids can genuinely help decrease the likelihood of sustaining falls in elderly adults. The study consisted of participants aged 65-91 years.
The study above required participants to engage in tests that examined their sense of equilibrium while wearing hearing instruments, compared with when they did not wear hearing aids. Their hearing was tested using white noise. The results found the participants were able to perform significantly better on the balance exercises while wearing hearing aids. An interesting observation was that the participants were actually unaware of their having performed at an improved rate after wearing hearing aids.
The unawareness of the participants suggests that people who wear hearing aids may actually be ignorant of the benefits that they provide. This is why several people may be unwilling to get hearing aids in the first place, since even those who do wear hearing aids are not able to describe the benefits to the full extent. Hearing aids provide many hidden benefits, and it often takes research studies like the one above to bring these benefits into the spotlight. Once the awareness of the true benefits of wearing hearing aids is widely known to the public, people will never need to delay their visit to the audiologist when they experience hearing problems. You need not suffer the sound of silence in silence. Hearing aids can help improve your life, so get your hearing tested today to improve your balance and enhance your life!
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