Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? That’s typical. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Happens every day. Kids are pretty limber so, no big deal. They bounce back quite easily.
The same cannot be said as you age. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you get older. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older people tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in people older than 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can reduce falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. New research seems to suggest that we may have discovered one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to know how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall in the first place? In some cases, it seems that the answer is a definite yes.
So the question is, why would the risk of falling be increased by hearing loss?
There’s not exactly an intuitive association. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly influence your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased risk of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- Depression: Social solitude and maybe even mental decline can be the outcome of untreated hearing loss. When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is very significant to your overall equilibrium. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects your inner ear. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a consequence. A weary brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have seen.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the barking dog next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. In other words, your situational awareness may be substantially affected. Can you become clumsy like this due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, everyday activities can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And your risk of bumping into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you go into a concert hall, you instantly know that you’re in a spacious venue, even if you close your eyes? Or how you can immediately detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. Your ears are actually using something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-frequency sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or intuitively. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-associated falls. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe consequences.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And this is being confirmed by new research. Your risk of falling could be decreased by up to 50% based on one study.
The link between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. That’s partially because individuals frequently fail to wear their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.
But this new research took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. Individuals who wore their hearing aids frequently were put in a different group than those who used them intermittently.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more alert. The added situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can notify the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and remain in touch with everybody who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you remain on your feet, literally!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be improved.