September is my favorite month of the year! Although the dates and the campaigns vary, there is a lot going on to raise awareness for Fall Prevention and Balance Awareness. The National Council on Aging celebrates Fall Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall: September 22nd, 2017. First day of fall... clever, right? The Vestibular Disorders Association is celebrating its 20th year of Balance Awareness Week from September 18th-24th, 2017. There are also numerous local programs in various settings to help raise awareness and draw attention to the importance of improving balance and preventing falls, including the event I am involved with: Fight The Fall Community Open House at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center of Rockville.
Many people may not understand how much of an impact hearing loss can have on your quality of life and safety. Lisa Packer, a writer for Healthy Hearing, wrote an interesting article in 2015: New research links hearing loss to an increased risk of falls. Here's a quick summary:
During Physical Therapy Vestibular Evaluations, I've found it useful to include a simple "hearing screen" with an OtoSimple Hand Held Hearing Screener if my patient has not already had their hearing checked. It is a tool that plays different tones at 4 different frequencies. The screen is simply pass/fail, and is not used for diagnostic purposes. If the patient fails to hear even one of the tones, I stress to them that they should have their hearing checked. This opens the door to a discussion about how even mild hearing loss may impact their lives and how it is connected to balance. Patient's who are hesitant or uninterested at first usually walk away from the discussion with a different or modified point of view, and have been more likely to see an ENT or audiologist for an audiogram and/or hearing aids.
Reprinted with permission. Copyright Healthy Hearing (www.healthyhearing.com)
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