Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also pretty typical. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They don’t typically stay down for long.
The same cannot be said as you age. Falling becomes more and more of a concern as you get older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals may have a harder time getting up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss cause falls?
If you want to know how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your chance of falling? In some situations, it appears that the answer is a definite affirmative.
So why does hearing loss increase the danger of a fall for people?
There isn’t really an intuitive link. After all, hearing loss does not directly impact your ability to move or see. But this sort of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated danger of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into an arena, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can tell you’re in a huge space? Or how you can immediately tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. That’s because your ears are utilizing high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. This can cause disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can lead to social isolation and depression (not to mention an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you may be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely important to your total equilibrium. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more often.
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with neglected hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. Your brain will be continuously tired as a consequence. An exhausted brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have noticed.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You may not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. Your situational awareness may be substantially affected, in other words. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, in a way yes, daily tasks can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And your chance of stumbling into something and falling will be slightly higher.
Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-related falls. As you grow older, you’re more likely to experience permanent and progressive 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 decrease falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And this is being validated by new research. Your risk of falling could be decreased by up to 50% according to one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the connection between hearing aids and staying upright) were a little fuzzier. That’s partially because individuals often fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were having a fall. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
But this new research took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. People who used their hearing aids now and then were separated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So how can you prevent falls by wearing hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less exhausted. The added situational awareness also helped. Additionally, many hearing aids come with safety features created to trigger in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help quicker (this is critical for individuals older than 65).
But the key here is to be certain you’re using your hearing aids often and consistently.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and stay connected to everyone who’s significant in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
If you want to find out more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us right away.