Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet while you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They bounce back very easily.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can be. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older people may have a more difficult time getting up after falling, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
It isn’t surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt 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 understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It appears as if the answer may be, yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the risk of a fall for people?
That association isn’t really that intuitive. 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 elevated risk of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. This means your brain is exhausted more often than not. An alert brain will notice and avoid obstacles, which will decrease the risk of falling.
- You have less situational awareness: You might 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 might be substantially affected, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy like this? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily activities slightly more dangerous. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is extremely significant to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you may find yourself a bit more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can tell you’re in a large space? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. This can lead to disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Depression: Social isolation and possibly even mental decline can be the consequence of untreated hearing loss. When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping hazards are everywhere, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-associated falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will raise the probability of falling. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious repercussions.
How can the danger of falling be lowered by wearing hearing aids?
If hearing loss is part of the issue, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the solution. And this is being confirmed by new research. Your danger of falling could be lowered by as much as 50% according to one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the link between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a little fuzzier. That’s partially because individuals frequently fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were having a fall. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.
But this new study took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. People who used their hearing aids now and again were segregated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So why does using your hearing aids help you prevent falls? Generally speaking, they keep you more alert, more concentrated, and less fatigued. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. In addition, many hearing aids come with safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. Help will come quicker this way.
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
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 you remain on your feet, literally!
If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us today.