Not only can hearing aids improve communication with loved ones, boost your mood and increase your earning power, studies show they can also prevent a trip to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center due to a fall. In this post, we review how the hearing and balance systems are connected and what the studies show about how hearing aids can improve balance and prevent hospital visits.
How the Hearing & Balance Systems Are Connected
The inner ear contains both the cochlea and the labyrinth.
- The cochlea is responsible for helping you hear. It is lined with tiny hair cells called stereocilia, which convert incoming soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound.
- The labyrinthis responsible for helping you balance. It is a maze of bone and tissue that holds the semicircular canals, which are filled with fluid that moves in response to your body’s movements, telling your brain how you’re oriented in space.
The cochlea and the labyrinth both send signals to the brain via the vestibulocochlear nerve. Because these systems are so intertwined, a problem with one often results in problems with the other. This is why people with hearing loss are three times more likely to experience an injurious fall compared to someone without.
Fortunately, this also means that wearing hearing aids to treat hearing loss can prevent a fall that lands you in the hospital. We review what the studies show below.
What the Research Shows
A study published in Science Daily in 2018 reports: [The researchers] found that older adults who had a hearing aid were less likely to have gone to the hospital or emergency room in the last year. The difference was about two percentage points – not a major difference but large enough to be significant.” Additionally, “Those who had been hospitalized and had a hearing aid had shorter stays than those who didn’t have a hearing aid – averaging a half of a day less in the hospital.”
This information is supported by another study published in Inquiry in 2019, which found that: “Use of hearing aids was associated with lower medical costs among those with severe self-reported hearing loss.”
To learn more about hearing aids or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Nevada Ear + Sinus Institute today.
Call Nevada Ear + Sinus Institute at (702) 735-7668 for more information or to schedule an appointment.