Kids have a tendency to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s normal. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Happens every day. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They bounce back quite easily.
The same cannot be said as you age. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can be. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal slower). Older people tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in individuals over 65.
It isn’t surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can lessen falls. Hearing aids may be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? In some instances, it seems that the answer is a definite affirmative.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the risk of falling be increased by hearing loss?
That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased risk of falling. Here are some of those symptoms:
- You have less situational awareness: When you have untreated hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the barking dog beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness could be substantially affected, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy in this way? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day tasks a little more dangerous. And your risk of stumbling 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 immediately know that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or how you can instantly detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or intuitively. This can result in disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with neglected hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. This means your brain is tired more often than not. An alert brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will lessen the likelihood of having a fall.
- Depression: Untreated hearing loss can lead to social solitude and depression (along with an increased danger of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects the inner ear. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-associated falls. As you grow older, you’re more likely to develop irreversible and advancing hearing loss. That will raise the likelihood of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious consequences.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being validated by new research. Your danger of falling could be decreased by as much as 50% based on one study.
The link between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this clear. That’s partly because people often fail to wear 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 method of this research was conducted differently and maybe more effectively. People who wore their hearing aids now and again were segregated from people who wore them all of the time.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more alert. The added situational awareness also helped. Additionally, many hearing aids include safety features created to trigger in the case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is crucial for individuals 65 or older).
Consistently using your hearing aids is the key here.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and stay in touch with everyone who’s important in your life.
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 improved.