In a recent research study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine they found that older adults with mild hearing loss have a significantly higher risk of falls than those with normal hearing. The study used data on 2,017 people ages 40-69 and tracked their hearing and balance from 2001-2004.
The data showed that 14% of the population had a hearing loss greater than 25 decibels (mild hearing loss) with 5% of this population reporting falls during the past 12 months. The risk of falling increased by 40% with every 10-decibel loss of hearing.
Researchers believe that decreased hearing sensitivity may affect the auditory cues needed for environmental awareness. The organs responsible for hearing and balance are both located in the innter ear and researchers believe dysfunction to one system may alter the other.