The most obvious benefit of treating your hearing loss with hearing aids is an improvement in your ability to hear and communicate. According to experts, there are a number of additional benefits that are just as important, including improvements in your independence, quality of life and even safety.
Improvement in Balance
Hearing aid usage can help you improve your balance, thus preventing falls and related hospitalizations.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine found that patients wearing hearing aids performed better on a set of standard balance tests than those whose hearing aids were turned off. Even though the patient size was small, only 14 people between the ages of 65 and 91 participated, “The effect of hearing aids on postural stability” was the first study to show that sound information plays a role in balance, separate from the inner ear and balance system. The results of this study help support the idea that hearing aids or cochlear implants may help the elderly reduce their risk of falling.
Senior author of the study Dr. Timothy Hullar explained, “We don’t think it’s just that wearing hearing aids makes the person more alert. The participants appeared to be using the sound information coming through their hearing aids as auditory reference points or landmarks to help maintain balance.”
Study participants completed the balance tests once with their hearing aids on and a second time with their hearing aids off. The order in which they completed each test was randomized.
Interestingly, many of the participants were not aware they performed better on the tests when wearing their hearing aids, even though the researchers had evidence noting that they did.
Improvement in Awareness
Hearing can help you have a better sense of your environment, improve your awareness and prevent avoidable accidents. Being able to identify hazards and determine where sounds are coming from such as cars, police sirens and even pets can help you avoid danger in your daily activities.
Improvement in General Safety
Untreated hearing loss has been connected to a number of safety issues including:
- Increase in accidental injuries
- Increase in workplace injuries
- More frequent and longer hospitalizations
Choosing to treat your hearing loss with a hearing aid provides peace of mind by knowing you have done something to help enhance your sense of safety. Contact the experts at SW Idaho ENT today to get started.