Here is some good news for a change. We have been reading and hearing much lately about the negative effects of hearing loss. It turns out that wearing hearing aids assists dramatically in staying alive! How so? In the US falls are the leading cause of accidental deaths in adults aged over 65 years. Epidemiologic studies, that is medical studies of health patterns, have shown a distinct correlation between hearing loss and the risk of falling for older people and as a result a greater risk of mortality.
Now a new study has shown a marked reduction in falls among hearing aid wearers. The interesting thing about this study is that it did not report improved balance as many who have blogged and twitted about this have claimed. The current thinking is that sound information is providing the feedback “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.” The results are suggestive that older people now have another powerful reason to get tested for hearing loss and if the loss is proven they would be well advised to procure hearing, if only to stay alive.