You’ve likely heard about what benefits hearing aids can have on your communication and relationships. What’s less well-known is that hearing aids can also improve your physical safety.
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a variety of safety concerns, including accidental injuries, workplace accidents, total hospital visits and hospital readmission. Fortunately, the use of hearing aids can help prevent injury and keep you safer.
Hearing Aids Increase Awareness
There are a lot of warning sounds in our environment, and missing them can have devastating effects. When you think of warning signs, you may think of emergency vehicle sirens, fire alarms, etc., but there are many other types of warning signs.
For example, you may have the ability to hear the sound of a car horn, but if the driver is not paying attention, it’s important to hear the sound of the oncoming vehicle in case you need to get out of the way. In addition to hearing the engine of the car at all, it’s important to have healthy hearing in both ears in order to localize the sound and identify which direction it’s coming from.
There are other warning sounds, too, that may not be as loud. For example, a child’s cry, whimper from a dog or a shout from a neighbor in their home may be signs of distress that you miss if you have hearing loss.
Hearing Aids Improve Balance
In addition to warning of danger, poor hearing has been linked in many studies to poor balance, which can further impact your physical safety.
A study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that adults with hearing loss performed better on balance tests when they were wearing their hearing aids compared to when they were not.
“We don’t think it’s just that wearing hearing aids makes the person more alert,” explained Timothy Hullar, M.D., senior author and professor of otolaryngology. “The participants appeared to be using the sound information coming through their hearing aids as auditory reference points or landmarks to help maintain balance. It’s a bit like using your eyes to tell where you are in space. If we turn out the lights, people sway a little bit — more than they would if they could see. This study suggests that opening your ears also gives you information about balance.”
For more information about hearing loss and personal safety or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call the Hearing Center of Lake Charles!