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Studies on Hearing Loss & Injuries

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Terri Ellert, HIS

Terri has been in practice as a Board-Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist for the past 11 years and is a co-founder of the Hearing Centers of Arizona.
Terri Ellert, HIS

Latest posts by Terri Ellert, HIS (see all)

Hearing Loss Symptoms and Frequency

One of the most common impairments in the United States is the loss of hearing. This particular impairment effects roughly 16% of the population, and it is often underestimated how much of a role hearing loss can play in the increased likelihood of accidental injuries in both the home and workplace. According to a website from the Mayo Clinic hearing loss symptoms include, but are not limited to: muffled speech, a tendency to withdraw from conversations and/or social settings, the need to excessively increase the volume of TV or radio in order to adequately hear, and frequent requests of others to speak more slowly, clearly, or to repeat themselves when verbally communicating. Although hearing loss can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall quality of life and put them at an increased risk to injury, there are also many effective treatments.

Accidents and Injuries Related to Hearing Loss

The link between accidental injuries and hearing loss has been demonstrated in numerous academic studies in recent years. One study which examined Medicaid data in South Carolina between 2002 and 2003 found that children with hearing loss were two times as likely to visit hospitals and emergency rooms with accidental injuries than those who did not suffer hearing impairments. Investigations into the connection between hearing loss and workplace accidents yielded similar numbers as well. A systematic review of 15 academic studies revealed workers with hearing impairments were 1.5 times more likely to experience an occupational accident resulting in an injury compared to those without hearing loss. In addition, studies of elderly populations in Turkey have shown hearing impairments in the home were 1.3 times more likely to suffer injuries due to accidents in the home.

Home Safety and Hearing Loss

Home smoke alarms are considered highly effective in providing an early warning of fire related emergencies, but are they equally effective with those experiencing hearing impairments compared to alternatives? One study in 2009 examined the effectiveness of visual indicators such as strobe lights and found that this did not in fact serve as a potent way of alarming a person with hearing loss of such an emergency. Although devices such as pillow and/or bed shakers worked in alerting completely deaf individuals of a fire emergency, for those with partial, and in some cases severe hearing damage, they were shown to be more responsive to smoke detectors with lower audio frequencies when compared to those smoke detectors with higher pitched audio frequencies. In fact, one study has shown that less than half of people suffering from mild to severe hearing loss were alerted by standard smoke alarms.

Hearing Loss Treatment Options

Despite a growing prevalence in hearing impairments likely to due to a growing elderly adult population, hearing loss is not only preventable, but also fairly simple to treat. The first step in successfully addressing potential hearing issues is to visit a professional to receive a hearing evaluation. If it is determined that a person is a good candidate for a hearing aid, there are countless options and choices to fit an individual’s unique preferences in terms of style, color, and/or presentation. There are even completely discreet hearing aids that cannot be seen by others!

Benefits of Hearing Loss Treatment

The benefits of treating hearing loss not only benefit the individual, but also those around them with whom they interact with on a daily basis. Restored hearing allows the individual to be better protected from accidents both occupational and domestically in the household. It can help to improve cognitive function, or slow down a decline in such functions especially as it relates to the elderly. An increase in the overall quality of life is often reported from those who successfully complete treatment along with an ability to focus and understand conversations in social settings, and a better ability to connect with people due to the ability to better understand words and verbal cues. Although it is a sense that is often taken for granted until it is in decline, the good news is that hearing loss is a treatable condition with limitless treatment options. Contact us today to find out more!

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