Hearing loss can affect your ability to follow conversations, enjoy your favorite song or movie, and take part in daily activities. Yes, these are all detrimental effects of hearing loss, but there are some more dangerous consequences. Research suggests that hearing loss increases the risk of accidental injuries.
Senior author of the study Dr. Neil Bhattacharyya explained, “Many adults believe that hearing loss, particularly due to aging, is ‘normal’ and therefore of little consequence other than, perhaps, social difficulties. We were motivated to create this study since hearing is a special sense that plays an important role in warning us of danger in our surroundings. We wanted to see if a poorer hearing ability was related to accidental injuries.”
The researchers uncovered that hearing loss is associated with a higher risk of accidental injuries. Furthermore, the risk of injury increased as hearing loss worsened.
The researchers analyzed data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, which included 6.6 million respondents who reported an accidental injury in the past three months. One in six of the respondents reported their hearing was impaired to some degree.
Hearing impaired people were nearly twice as likely to experience an accidental injury compared to those with normal hearing. Leisure activity injuries were closely related to poor hearing.
“We found that leisure-related injuries were particularly interesting since individuals may not consider that a high-risk occasion for injury and may be paying even less attention to their hearing difficulties. Ultimately, hearing loss may be more consequential than one might think,” continued Dr. Bhattacharyya.
Hearing loss is irreversible but detecting it early on is still important as your doctor can recommend prevention methods to reduce further hearing loss.