Spotlight: Balance in the News
Hearing Loss Links to an Increased Risk of Falls
International Campaign for Better Hearing
Posted here June 23, 2020
Published February 27, 2017
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institute of Aging discovered that hearing loss increases the risk of falls for older people, by a significant amount.
The research found that the risk of having a fall is even higher for people with more severe hearing loss. In fact, the risks increases 140 percent for every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss. There could many reasons that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of falls. One reason might be that people with hearing loss have less environmental awareness. This means they don’t notice things happening near to them, such as people, pets, or other things. Many researchers also suggest that people with hearing loss need to use more of their mental resources to hear and interpret speech and other sounds, so they have less mental energy left for other tasks such as balancing.
The study: “Hearing Loss and Falls Among Older Adults in the United States” is headed by Dr Frank Lin from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Luiggi Ferrucci from National Institute of Aging. "Gait and balance are things most people take for granted, but they are actually very cognitively demanding," Dr Lin says. "If hearing loss imposes a cognitive load, there may be fewer cognitive resources to help with maintaining balance and gait."
To read more, click here.
For the full scholarly article, click here.
Balance Awareness Week is September 13-19, 2020
Vestibular Disorders Association | Portland, Oregon
Posted here September 13, 2020
Balance-related disorders affect more than 69 million Americans — that’s nearly 1 in 5 people who suffer from vestibular dysfunction. Yet despite the widespread occurrence of vestibular disorders, the word “vestibular” is not commonly understood. Few know that “vestibular” refers to the inner ear and brain — the complex, mysterious human system that controls our sense of balance.
The theme of this year’s Balance Awareness Week is “Uncovering the Mystery” of vestibular diagnosis. So many people go for so long trying to figure out what is going on with them that they have to become sleuths to advocate for their own healthcare.
The overarching goal of Balance Awareness Week is to raise awareness of balance-related disorders by making “vestibular” a household word that everyone can easily understand, so that people who lose their balance can be more rapidly diagnosed, effectively treated, and gain the empathetic support they need from friends, family, and co-workers.
Click here to learn more on VeDA's website.
Having Both Hearing and Visual Impairments May Lead to Elevated Dementia Risk
The Hearing Review | Overland Park, Kansas
Posted here July 14, 2020
Published July 10, 2020
Older adults with both hearing and visual impairments—or dual sensory impairment—had a significantly higher risk for dementia in a recent study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, according to a press announcement on the Wiley website.
In the study of 2,051 older adults (22.8% with hearing or visual impairment and 5.1% with both impairments) who were followed over eight years, dual sensory impairment was associated with an 86% higher risk for dementia compared with having no sensory impairments. During follow-up, dementia developed in 14.3% in those with no sensory impairments, 16.9% in those with one sensory impairment, and 28.8% in those with dual sensory impairment.
Participants with dual sensory impairment were also twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia) than those without sensory impairments.
“Evaluation of vision and hearing in older adults may predict who will develop dementia and Alzheimer’s. This has important implications on identifying potential participants in prevention trials for Alzheimer’s disease, as well as whether treatments for vision and hearing loss can modify risk for dementia,” said lead author Phillip H. Hwang, of the University of Washington.
To read more, click here.