Do you enjoy riding your bike from L.A. Golden Bike Shop around town? If you have untreated hearing loss, doing so could put you in danger, one 2018 study shows. We review this study and the connection between untreated hearing loss and injuries below.
What the Research Shows
The purpose of the study, which was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, was to uncover whether hearing difficulty is associated with a risk of accidental injury. To answer this, researchers examined data from 232.2 million individuals over the age of 18 who participated in the National Health Interview Survey from 2007 to 2015.
Participants ranked their hearing as “excellent,” “good,” “a little trouble,” “moderate trouble,” “a lot of trouble,” and “deaf.” They also indicated whether they had experienced an accident in the previous three months; 6.6 million had.
The researchers found that compared to people with normal hearing:
- Those with “a little trouble” hearing were 60% more likely to experience an injury.
- Those with “moderate trouble” hearing were 70% more likely to experience an injury.
- Those with “a lot of trouble” hearing were 90% more likely to experience an injury.
According to the authors, “Hearing difficulty is significantly associated with accidental injury, especially injury related to work or leisure.”
Why the Link?
There are several theories as to why there is such a strong link between hearing impairment and injuries:
- Hearing loss decreases one’s awareness of their environment, meaning they’re more likely to miss important warning sounds like a car horn or someone shouting.
- Those with asymmetrical hearing loss, or more severe loss in one ear, have a tougher time localizing sounds.
- People with hearing loss are also more likely to experience listening fatigue, meaning cognitive resources are used for hearing and understanding, leaving fewer for other functions like gait and balance.
- Those with a hearing impairment can also experience compromised physical functions, especially in the lower extremities.
Next Steps if You Have Untreated Hearing Loss
If you have untreated hearing loss, it’s important to seek help right away in order to avoid an accident or injury. For more information about the link between hearing loss and injuries or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call The House Institute today.