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Hearing loss is more than an inconvenience. Studies show hearing loss may also increase the risk for falls. Each year, one in four people over the age of 65 takes a nasty tumble. Some of these falls lead to serious injury.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that people with “mild” hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to fall than people who hear well. The risk went up as hearing loss increased. These findings did not change when researchers accounted for other risk factors for falling such as age, gender and race.
It’s not fully clear why hearing loss and falls are linked, but researchers point to three likely reasons:
Often, hearing loss isn’t treated. Some people may not know they have treatment options. They may lack access to care. Others may worry about the cost or effectiveness of hearing aids.
If you feel like you no longer hear as well as you once did, talk with your doctor. Ask questions about what you can do. Tell your family and friends. They can help make hearing easier by speaking louder and more clearly. Be aware of background noise, which makes hearing more difficult.
You can also use a variety of tools and techniques to hear better, including:
Addressing your hearing loss may also help improve your balance and keep you from falling.
Here’s some great news for Blue Cross Medicare AdvantageSM members: If you have a Fall Risk Assessment, you may qualify for a $25 gift card through our Rewards program. Visit the Healthy Activity Portal* to learn more.
Originally published 10/15/2018; Revised 2021
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