Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up while sprinting across the yard. Also rather normal. It isn’t really a concern because, well, kids are quite limber. They don’t usually stay down for very long.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can be. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal slower). Older people might have a harder time standing back up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in people older than 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
If you want to understand 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 appears as though the answer might be, yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the danger of falling be increased by hearing loss?
That connection isn’t really that intuitive. After all, hearing loss does not directly influence your ability to move or see. 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 result in an increased danger of falling. Some of those symptoms include:
- 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 frequently than not. An attentive brain will detect and avoid obstacles, which will reduce the chance of having a fall.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the dog barking beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. In other words, your situational awareness may be substantially impacted. Can you become clumsy in this way as a result of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make daily activities slightly more dangerous. And that means you could be slightly more likely to accidentally bump into something, and take a tumble.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- Depression: Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation and depression (and also an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you immediately know that you’re in a huge venue, even if you close your eyes? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. That’s because your ears are using high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to quickly 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 with regard to hearing loss-induced falls. As you get older, you’re more likely to develop permanent and progressive hearing loss. That will raise the likelihood of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious repercussions.
How can the danger of falling be reduced by wearing hearing aids?
If hearing loss is part of the issue, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the remedy. And this is being confirmed by new research. One recent study found that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the relationship between hearing aids and staying on your feet) were a little less clear. Partly, that’s because not everyone 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 people weren’t wearing them.
The method of this research was carried out differently and perhaps more effectively. Those who wore their hearing aids frequently were put in a different group than people who used them occasionally.
So how can you prevent falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more vigilant. It doesn’t hurt that you have added spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can notify the authorities and family members if a fall happens. 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 frequently and regularly.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and stay connected to everyone who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you remain on your feet, literally!
Make an appointment with us right away if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.