Fall is upon us! The taste of pumpkin spice lattes, the smell of apple cider scented candles and changes in weather as days become shorter are just the few things that stimulate our senses this season. But what about our ability to hear? Although many tend to take it for granted, hearing is one of the most crucial senses we rely on from the inner ear. Not only does the inner ear control your sense of hearing, but it’s also linked to the vestibular system which regulates your movement and balance.

The inner ear is composed of two important parts: the cochlea for hearing and the vestibular system for balance. Both are essential when it comes to performing daily activities safely. This year, hearing loss has already increased by 15% – affecting nearly 50 million Americans ages 12 and over. Although hearing loss is the third most common (yet most treatable) health condition in the United States, it is often overlooked. In most cases, hearing loss occurs gradually, making it easy for an individual to become adapted to it. Most people do not realize that untreated hearing loss can also affect the vestibular system since the inner ear detects movement and controls balance by sending sensory cells to the brain. An individual’s risk of falling increases 140% for every 10 decibels of hearing loss. For example, if an individual has a 30 decibel hearing loss, they are 420% more likely to fall than an age/gender matched counterpart with no hearing loss!

The ability to hear connects us to the world, while maintaining our balance allows us to move safely at home, access our community and interact with our environment. Together, these systems keep us functionally independent. The doctors of audiology at the Florida Center for Hearing Health have extensive, specialized experience and state-of-the-art technology to safely evaluate, diagnose and treat hearing loss. In addition, FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers rely on science-based therapies to evaluate and perform proper treatments for numerous balance disorders.

This October, we celebrate both National Audiology and National Physical Therapy Awareness! Now is the perfect time to not only check and protect your hearing, but also to optimize your movement and improve your range of motion. As partners of Florida E.N.T. & Allergy, the providers at the Florida Center for Hearing Health and FYZICAL work closely with board-certified physicians to provide the best possible hearing-related services and physical therapy to their patients.

For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a Florida E.N.T. & Allergy physician, Florida Center for Hearing Health audiologist and/or a FYZICAL therapist, please call (813) 879-8045 or visit Florida E.N.T. & Allergy online at www.FloridaENTandAllergy.com.