Fall Prevention Awareness Day- September 23rd, 2019
By Dr. Kathleen Coates, Audiologist/Owner
There’s no better day than the first day of Fall, the season, to talk about FALL PREVENTION! No, we are not trying to prevent cooler weather, leaves changing, the color orange, everything pumpkin spice, the countdown to Christmas and having to wear sweaters. We are raising awareness of a very important topic: FALL RISK.
Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture (Center for Disease Control and Prevention-CDC).
Why is a hearing clinic discussing fall prevention? The inner ear, or cochlea, is connected to the vestibular (balance) system. There are many diseases, disorders and hearing loss that can cause symptoms of vertigo, dizziness and imbalance. One study by Dr. Frank Lin at Johns Hopkins in 2012 found that individuals who experience hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. It is our duty at Coates Hearing Clinic, P.A. to educate the public on this link and the importance of prevention.
Fall Prevention Strategies (American Speech and Hearing Association):
- Get a baseline hearing test to rule out inner ear loss, diseases or disorders.
- Use care in the bathroom: The bathroom can be a dangerous place. The floor can become wet and slippery, making it easier to fall. Getting in and out of the tub or shower is a common time for people to fall. To prevent falls in the bathroom: Use nonslip mats or strips in the bathtub or shower. Install grab bars inside and outside of the tub or shower. Install grab bars near the toilet for support. Clean up wet areas and spills as quickly as possible.
- Keep muscles strong through exercise: Sitting too much puts you at risk for falling! Many exercise programs improve strength and balance. Learn about classes that target health conditions that you might have, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or Parkinson’s disease.
- Learn about the medications you are taking: People who take four or more medications may be at risk for falling. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you are taking and any side effects. Make sure you tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, and vitamins.
- Keep your vision sharp: Poor vision can make it harder to get around safely. To help make sure you’re seeing clearly, have your eyes checked every year and wear glasses or contact lenses with the right prescription strength. Use contrasting colors at steps or thresholds so you can see them clearly. For example, if your bathroom is painted white, make sure the shower curtain is a different color and the threshold into the shower is a contrasting color. On dark wooden floors, paint the edge of the steps a lighter color.
- Make your house safer: About half of all falls happen at home. Use bright lightbulbs to brighten dark rooms. Wear secure shoes, not slippers or flip-flops, inside and outside of the house.
- KEEP EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS IN LARGE PRINT CLOSE BY.
If you have not received a BASELINE HEARING EXAMINATION, click below to request an appointment or call us today at 919-351-6285. Most insurances cover a hearing test as a preventative measure.
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A HOME SAFETY CHECK can help identify fall hazards. Here is a link to one from the CDC: