When you’re a kid, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Happens all of the time. It isn’t really a concern because, well, kids are pretty limber. They bounce back quite 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 break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in people over 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can reduce falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. New research seems to suggest that we may have determined one such device: hearing aids.
Can hearing loss cause falls?
If you want to fully grasp how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your risk of falling? It looks as if the answer might be, yes.
So the question is, why would the risk of falling be raised by hearing loss?
That association isn’t really that intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to see or move. 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 result in an increased danger of falling. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. An alert brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will reduce the likelihood of falling.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can detect that you’re in a large space? Or how you can immediately detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. Your ears are actually using something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-frequency sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as quickly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is extremely significant to your total equilibrium. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you may find yourself a bit more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble maintaining your balance. As a result of this, you could fall down more frequently.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can cause social isolation and depression (along with 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 nearby.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have untreated hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the dog barking next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness could be substantially affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily activities slightly more hazardous. And that means you could be a little bit more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and take a tumble.
Part of the link between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to experience permanent and advancing hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe repercussions.
How can the risk of falling be decreased by using hearing aids?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And new research has confirmed that. One recent study revealed that wearing hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the relationship between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a bit less clear. Partly, that’s because not everyone wears their hearing aids all of the time. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This was because individuals weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
The method of this research was carried out differently and perhaps more effectively. People who used their hearing aids now and then were separated from individuals who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have added spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can notify the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.
Consistently using your hearing aids is the key here.
Get your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and remain connected to everyone who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
Make an appointment with us today if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.