When you’re a kid, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? 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 very easily.
The same can’t be said as you get older. Falling becomes more and more of a worry as you age. To some extent, that’s because your bones tend to break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older individuals might have a harder time getting up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. As a result, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals older than 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could 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: does hearing loss make a fall more likely to begin with? It seems as though the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the danger of a fall for people?
There isn’t exactly an intuitive association. After all, hearing loss does not directly impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are certain symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to a higher risk of having a fall. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. An alert brain will notice and avoid obstacles, which will lessen the likelihood of having a fall.
- Depression: Untreated hearing loss can cause social solitude and depression (and also an increased danger of dementia). You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anybody to help you.
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble maintaining your balance. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- 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 your eyes are closed? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the barking dog beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness may be substantially impacted, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this as a result of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, everyday tasks can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And your risk of stumbling into something and falling will be a little higher.
Part of the connection between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious repercussions.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And new research has confirmed that. Your risk of falling could be reduced by as much as 50% based on one study.
The connection between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this clear. In part, that’s because not everybody uses their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were having a fall. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.
The approach of this study was carried out differently and maybe more precisely. People who used their hearing aids now and again were separated from people who wore them all of the time.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less exhausted, more concentrated, and generally more alert. The added situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can notify the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will come quicker this way.
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
Get your fall prevention devices today
You will be able to stay close to your loved ones if you use hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.