Five Myths about Falls. That's our topic today on Ask the Hearing Doctors.
Hi, I'm Jim Cuddy and this is at the Hearing Doctors. And I'm joined today by Dr. Wendy Thorne, Dr. of Audiology with Hearing Doctors. The Washington DC Metro area's highest-rated audiology practice with over 1500, five-star reviews. Wendy, great to see you as always.
So falls obviously can be extremely dangerous.
Lead to injury. We all know that there are some certainly some things that you can do to prevent that but an interesting thing. Recently, a National Council on Aging put out a list of myths related to falling. And I think we should go over some of those today. Yes. So I'm going to name them and just let you kind of tell us why this doesn't really make a lot of sense.
Why it is a myth.
Why it is a myth. All right.
So myth number one, falling won't happen to me.
Yes. So falling is more prevalent than I think most people realize. So in the US alone, every year, about one in four adults has a fall. And it can affect any age. So even younger children or teens that are playing sports, they can have concussions which can throw off balance. If you're a migraine sufferer as well, that can really affect your balance, too.
And that can increase your risk of falling as well.
And who hasn't tripped and fallen at some point in their life?
Obviously, I guess it gets a little more dangerous as you get older and that kind of thing. And we'll talk about that in myth number two.
Falling is a natural part of aging.
Yes. It is not. So as you get older, your muscles weaken, your vision gets a little poorer, your hearing loss can degrade and that can all play in a part in making your balance a little unsteady. But it should not always be the natural aging process. Absolutely not.
And there's a lot you can do. You can you can build the muscle.
Absolutely. And that kind of thing to to help prevent.
Myth number three, if I reduce my activities, this is the opposite of what I was saying as a solution. If I reduce my activities and stay home, I won't fall.
I mean, if you stay in bed all day, you probably will not have a fall. But that is also not good for you. You know, you want to be out. You want to be around at home. Though there are a lot of cautions to be aware of, of falls. Getting in and out of the bathtub or the shower can be very dangerous. So those are all, you can fall anywhere at home, just as likely as being out in public.
I was thinking about it. If you have a pet cat or a dog that runs through the room and runs between your legs. And again, it doesn't matter how old you are.
Oh, there you go.
Yes. My cat loves to do that. So I have had many of falls from that.
I don't know if there's a cat that doesn't love to do it.
Myth number four, prescribed medication won't increase my risk of falling.
Absolutely. Not. So a lot of side effects from medication can be drowsiness and dizziness. I think those are tend to be the top two side effects for a lot of medications. Even just over-the-counter things. And that being drowsy, being dizzy can absolutely, absolutely increase your risk of falling.
And we should point out, I think prescribed medicine or medication, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a narcotic because everything has some sort of side effect, as you point out.
Yeah. Antibiotics, lots of different things.
All right. Myth number five, I don't want to use my walker or cane. It will make me more dependent.
So I would say the truth of that is actually the opposite. So using a walker cane will make you more independent. When you are not using a walker or cane, you're kind of relying on other people to help you to feel steady. They've also found research that says if you fall and break your hip, you're more likely to have premature death within two years.
So using a walker or cane to make sure that you stay steady is super important. Having those assistive devices can also help you go out, be social, go to events that you want to be because you feel comfortable with those devices.
Take ownership. Be proud of it that you can get out there and enjoy your friends and it's just going to be so important for you mentally. Yes. Especially as you're getting older.
Yeah. I mean, we don't want anybody to feel isolated staying at home. That's not good for your mental health, your hearing, your overall well-being. So if you're feeling unsteady, it's good to have those extra devices to help you feel comfortable.
Absolutely. So, Wendy, in conclusion, what would you tell folks.
If you're concerned about your balance or feeling steady, talk to your doctor. You can also call us here at Hearing Doctors. We do a full balance assessment and diagnostic testing. And from there, we can always help you feel more steady, feel more comfortable.
And get people out into the world where they belong.
Wendy, thank you so much.
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