Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up while sprinting across the yard. Also pretty normal. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are kind of limber. They bounce back pretty easily.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can become. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals might have a more difficult time getting up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-associated cause of death as a result.
It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can decrease falls. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
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 to begin with? It seems as if the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
That connection isn’t really that intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct effect on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in a higher danger of having a fall. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can result in social solitude and depression (along with an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially isolated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is always working overtime. This means your brain is exhausted more frequently 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.
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your total equilibrium. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects your inner ear. Because of this, you may fall down more frequently.
- 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. Your situational awareness could be substantially impacted, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy like this? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make daily activities a bit more dangerous. And your chance of bumping into something and falling will be a little higher.
- You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into a concert hall, you instantly know that you’re in a huge venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. When you’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as rapidly or intuitively. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.
Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-related falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.
How can hearing aids help minimize 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 confirmed by new research. Your danger of falling could be lowered by up to 50% according to one study.
The link between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this obvious. Partly, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were having a fall. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) approach. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and again were separated from people who used them all of the time.
So why does using your hearing aids help you avoid falls? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more alert. The added situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will arrive quicker this way.
But the key here is to make sure you’re using your hearing aids frequently and regularly.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
You will be able to remain close to your family members if you use hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.