Our ears play a very important role in our daily lives by helping us with hearing and vestibular (balance) function. There are two organs in the ear. One is called the Cochlea and it collects vibrations and pressure waves to determine which sounds we are hearing and then the information is sent to the brain for processing. Three semicircular canals and two otolith organs make up the vestibular system that provides input to the brain about our equilibrium, motion and spatial orientation.
The brain differentiates sounds that it hears to help process where we are in relation to other objects. The ears detect sounds and the brain can compare the volume and speed at which those sounds reach each ear. If our ears have hearing loss and do not hear well, the sounds will not be detected correctly and therefore, the brain will think we are in a different place than we actually are in relation to those other objects.
Studies have shown that individuals with even just a mild hearing loss have an increased accidental fall risk by one-third over those with no hearing loss. Furthermore, the studies have also shown that for every 10 decibel increase in hearing loss, the fall risk increased by 140%.
Greater amounts of hearing loss are very taxing on the brain and it’s ability to process information. Spatial awareness and balance control is also very demanding on the brain. With hearing loss that is not addressed, the brain has a difficult time handling multiple demanding tasks, especially as our brain ages. Over time, our reaction time increases and that can lead to slower reactions to correct ourselves if we do indeed begin to fall or feel unsteady.
Taking the appropriate steps to correct hearing loss will decrease the risk of falling and allow for more confident movements throughout the day. Spatial awareness is important for tasks such as walking on uneven surfaces, driving a car and maneuvering around objects. Being able to correctly identify your position in relation to steps, traffic and other objects will help an individual move throughout the day in a safe manner.
If you would like to schedule an evaluation at the MedRx Hearing Center in Largo, please give us a call. Amanda Kluzynski, a Board Certified Audiologist, will utilize a tiny video camera called a video otoscope to first examine the inside of your ear. Dr. Kluzynski will also be providing free hearing screenings, taking the time to review your medical and hearing history. This examination will help Dr. Kluzynski evaluate the cause of your hearing difficulties, which may include hearing but not understanding certain words, having issues comprehending conversation in noisy environments like restaurants, asking people to repeat themselves or turning the TV up loud to grasp what’s being said. The appointment also features free demonstrations of the new Oticon More, the first hearing aid proven to work in harmony with the brain to help people hear better with less effort and remember more of what’s being said.
To schedule a free hearing screening and consultation, call (727) 584-9696. Visit MedRxHearingCenter.com for more information.