Kids tend to fall on a daily basis. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? That’s normal. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Also pretty normal. It’s not really a concern because, well, kids are kind of limber. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can become. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older people may have a more difficult time getting up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. As a result, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in individuals over 65.
It’s not shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can reduce falls. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to understand why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a related question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your chance of having a fall? It seems as though the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
There’s not exactly an intuitive connection. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly influence your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are certain symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct effect on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased risk of having a fall. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- You have less situational awareness: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be substantially affected. Can hearing loss make you clumsy like this? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day activities a little more dangerous. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- Depression: Social solitude and maybe even cognitive decline can be the outcome of untreated hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is exhausted more often than not. A tired brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have seen.
- You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into a concert hall, you immediately detect that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly significant to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you may find yourself a little more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more often.
Part of the connection between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to experience irreversible and advancing hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe repercussions.
How can hearing aids help minimize falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And new research has borne that out. Your risk of falling could be decreased by as much as 50% according to one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the connection between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a little bit fuzzier. That’s partially because people frequently fail to use their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
But this new research took a different (and perhaps more accurate) strategy. People who used their hearing aids now and again were segregated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? In general, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less tired. The added situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. In addition, many hearing aids include safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. Help will arrive quicker this way.
But the trick here is to be certain you’re wearing your hearing aids frequently and regularly.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and remain in touch with everybody who’s important in your life.
They can also help you remain on your feet, literally!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be improved.