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If you have some hearing loss, you’ve noticed that it’s harder to follow conversations or hear clearly in places with a lot of background noise. What you might not know is that hearing loss is linked to an increased risk of injuries! People with hearing loss are less aware of their surroundings. They’re more likely to have an accident, fall, or injury. Hearing loss affects your safety, during both work and leisure activities.
How are Hearing Loss and Injuries Connected?
Researchers from the department of otolaryngology at the University of California Irvine looked at the relationship between hearing loss and injuries. In their 2018 study, the researchers examined survey data from the National Health Interview Survey. They analyzed self-reported rates of injury and hearing loss for 232.2 million Americans. The research team found a clear link between hearing loss and injuries.
The data showed that around 6.6 million American adults have accidents each year. These accidents include injuries at work, or accidents during leisure activities. Among adults with self-reported hearing loss, the rate of accidents was twice as high when compared to people without hearing loss! People who reported “a lot of trouble” hearing were far more likely to have an accident than people with normal hearing.
Staying Safe on the Jobsite
Safety at work is important. Depending on your job, you face a number of risks every day. A 2015 study published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal found an increased risk of injury among workers with vision loss, hearing loss, and balance issues. They found that people with hearing loss were injured on the job more often than workers with normal hearing.
Hearing plays a big role in workplace safety. Hearing helps us localize sounds, and hear machinery or equipment coming up behind us. Hearing can also keep us safe from danger when we can hear a warning bell, the beeping of machinery, or even a coworker yelling about a safety risk.
Safety on the Road
Another area where clear hearing keeps you safe is on the road. The most important sense when you’re driving is your vision. But your hearing is also extremely important. Your ears play a big role in driving safety. You use your sense of hearing to determine where other cars are. You’ll use hearing to figure out where sounds are coming from, and how you can respond appropriately.
If you hear a honk or an emergency siren, you’ll be able to tell out where the sound is coming from and make a quick decision about what you need to do. Hearing is important when you watch for pedestrians and maintain awareness of your surroundings. Being able to hear will also let you catch the sound of any mechanical problems with the car, or hear the ticking of your indicator light if you left it on after changing lanes.
Staying Safe When You’re Having Fun
Hearing loss can lead to injuries during leisure activities. Hearing loss is linked to more accidents when you play sports with your friends, when you ride a bike, or when you go for a walk. Hearing loss makes it hard to pinpoint where sounds are coming from, so you’re more likely to have an accident or sustain an injury. Hearing loss also increases your risk of a fall. You may not hear a dog come bounding up behind you, or hear the kid in the park yell as his ball comes rolling towards your feet.
Treating Hearing Loss Reduces Injuries
The best thing you can do for your overall health and wellbeing is treating your hearing loss. When you treat your hearing loss with a quality pair of hearing aids, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of normal hearing.
Hearing aids will help you hear all the sounds around you so you can localize sounds. When you know where sounds are coming from it’s easier to stay safe. Hearing aids will also help you hear all the softer sounds in the environment, so you won’t be caught off guard. This helps you stay safe and reduces your risk of an injury. Treating hearing loss with hearing aids will lower your risk of an accident, injury, or hospital visit.