Is There a Connection Between Hearing Loss and Fall Risk?
Falls and the risk of falling are a huge problem for older adults. You might not realize it, but her ability to hear can have more impact on her ability to avoid a fall. These two issues are each something that you can take action to help, but you need to be aware of what’s going on first.
Her Ears Help with Balance
You may already know that the inner ear helps with balance. The inner ear collects information about where your senior is located in relation to the ground. It acts a little bit like a gyroscope in that the data the inner ear collects helps your senior’s brain to understand how it’s positioned. If her inner ear isn’t functioning correctly, that influences her hearing of course, but it also creates balance problems for your elderly family member.
Her Brain Is Processing a Lot in Regard to Hearing
Your senior’s ears are a big part of her ability to hear, but there’s more going on in her brain. When hearing is damaged, the brain tries to compensate. Some studies have found that often the ears are fine, but it’s the brain that’s having trouble processing sounds and making sense of them. But there’s still more. Even when it’s the ears that are the problem, the cognitive load that the brain takes on in order to keep trying to process sounds can create situations in which your elderly family member doesn’t have enough brain function free to focus on things like maintaining her balance.
Certain Sounds Can Indicate Trouble
Sounds keep people apprised of what’s going on around them, including things that might be dangerous. When your elderly family member can’t hear what’s going on around her, she might be easily startled. Jumping or just being startled can cause her to lose her balance, which easily leads to a fall. Problems with her hearing can mean that your senior isn’t aware of her surroundings much at all, which can be dangerous if she goes out alone regularly.
Hearing issues can create a lot of other situations for your elderly family member. Keeping tabs on your senior’s hearing is important and her doctor can help with that. It may also be a good idea to ensure that your senior has a companion with her who is able to help her with avoiding obstacles and other issues. If you’re not able to do that for her, elder care providers have the experience your senior needs on her side.
If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring elder care in Scottsdale, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!