The Academy submitted comments in response to a Senate Special Committee on Aging request for stakeholder recommendations on prevention and management of falls and fall-related injuries.

The committee identified this issue are as one of great interest citing the fact that in 2016, approximately three million older adults were treated in emergency rooms after falling and that the annual total direct medical cost of fall-related injuries for older adults is approximately $50 billion.

The Academy’s comments highlight the role of the audiologist in the identification and treatment of hearing and balance disorders as well as the clear link between hearing loss and falls. In response to the committee’s specific request on possible changes to Medicare to address this issue, the Academy urged the committee to consider recommending that Medicare beneficiaries have direct access to audiologist services in light of the clear link between hearing loss/balance disorders and falls.