When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s typical. Getting tripped up while running across the yard. Happens every day. Kids are pretty limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for long.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can be. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older people tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
It isn’t shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can reduce falls. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to fully grasp how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can raise your risk of falling? It seems as if the answer may be, yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the danger of a fall for people?
There’s not really an intuitive link. After all, hearing loss does not directly impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in an increased risk of falling. Some of those symptoms include:
- You have less situational awareness: When you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the dog barking next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness could be substantially affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to unintentionally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
- Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. Because of this, you may fall down more frequently.
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is always working extra hard. This means your brain is exhausted more often than not. An exhausted brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have seen.
- High-pitched sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can detect that you’re in a large space? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.
Part of the connection between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. You’re more likely to experience progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.
How can hearing aids help decrease falls?
If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy. And this is being validated by new research. Your danger of falling could be reduced by up to 50% based on one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the link between hearing aids and staying upright) were a little bit fuzzier. That’s partly because individuals frequently fail to use their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.
The approach of this study was carried out differently and maybe more effectively. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were segregated from people who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? In general, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less fatigued. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can notify the authorities and family members if a fall happens. Help will arrive quicker this way.
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and stay in touch with everybody who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us right away.