When you’re a youngster, falling is just a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? That’s normal. Stumbling over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also rather typical. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t typically stay down for long.
The same cannot be said as you get older. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you get older. To some extent, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal slower). Older individuals may have a more difficult time getting up after falling, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Consequently, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals over 65.
It isn’t shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can reduce falls. New research appears to suggest that we may have found one such device: hearing aids.
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 a fall more likely in the first place? It looks as if the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the risk of a fall for people?
There isn’t exactly an intuitive association. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to see or move. But it turns out there are a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can lead to a higher danger of having a fall. Some of those symptoms include:
- Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. Your brain will be constantly exhausted as a result. A tired brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have detected.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a bit more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- Depression: Social isolation and possibly even cognitive decline can be the consequence of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially separated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping dangers are everywhere, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
- You have less situational awareness: When you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the barking dog next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness may be significantly affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this as a result of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make everyday tasks a little more dangerous. And your chance of stumbling into something and falling will be slightly higher.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you go into an auditorium, you instantly know that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are using high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.
Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-associated falls. As you get older, you’re more likely to experience permanent and progressive hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious 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 issue. And this is being confirmed by new research. Your danger of falling could be decreased by up to 50% according to one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the relationship between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a bit fuzzier. 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 falling. This was because people weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) approach. Those who wore their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who wore them intermittently.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, and generally more alert. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. This can mean you get help quicker (this is crucial for individuals older than 65).
But the trick here is to be certain you’re wearing your hearing aids often and consistently.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and stay connected to everybody who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be improved.