Your balance is connected to your hearing. If left unchecked, your hearing will gradually begin to weaken and your sense of balance will quickly become affected. The longer this stays untreated, the greater your risk of suffering a fall.
Falls are a very real danger to older Australians. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, between 2009-2010 more than 83,000 people over 65 were admitted to hospital after a fall, for an average stay of two weeks. And falls can often prove fatal. In addition to being responsible for crippling injuries, falls claim more lives each year than road accidents.
As we age, our hearing declines gradually over the years, often without notice, and it can take our balance with it.
Hearing loss not only causes a lack of environmental awareness, but also an overworked and more easily distracted mind. Balance is actually quite mentally demanding and if your brain is having to focus on hearing, you balance is eventually going to suffer.
What steps can you take to avoid a fall?
- Regular exercise, including balance-based exercises such as standing on one foot, heel-to-toe tightrope walking, and walking straight ahead with your arms outstretched at your sides.
- Check your medicines to make sure they’re right for you and not contributing to any dizziness.
- Get a vision check-up at least once a year
- Get your hearing tested at least once a year.
People often neglect their hearing for far too long, overlooking the importance it holds not just to being able to communicate but also for staying balanced and avoiding falls.
Where appropriate, hearing aids can go a long way toward freeing up the brain so it can get back to focusing on marshalling the motor skills essential to providing balance.
Getting your hearing checked regularly can help you avoid any unfortunate issues and keep you in balance.