Kids have a tendency to fall on a daily basis. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up while sprinting across the yard. Happens every day. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are quite limber. They don’t usually stay down for long.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a worry as you age. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older people tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Falling is the leading injury-associated cause of death as a result.
That’s why tools and devices that can reduce falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. New research seems to indicate that we may have discovered one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to figure out why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a related question: is it feasible that hearing loss can increase your chance of having a fall? In some cases, it appears that the answer is a strong affirmative.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
That association isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly influence your ability to move or see. But this type of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated risk of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- You have less situational awareness: You may not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be substantially impacted. Can you become clumsy in this way because of hearing loss? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make everyday activities a little more dangerous. And that means you could be slightly more likely to unintentionally bump into something, and take a tumble.
- 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 huge venue, even if you close your eyes? Or how you can immediately tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. That’s because your ears are utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. When you can no longer hear high-frequency sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or intuitively. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the consequence of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? 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 affects your inner ear. As a result of this, you may fall down more often.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more frequently than not. An alert brain will identify and avoid obstacles, which will decrease the risk of falling.
Part of the link between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will raise the probability of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe repercussions.
How can the danger of falling be lowered by using hearing aids?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has borne that out. One recent study discovered that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and staying upright) were a little bit fuzzier. In part, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were having a fall. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because people weren’t using them.
But this new research took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were separated from individuals who used them all of the time.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have added situational awareness. 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 assistance faster (this is essential for individuals 65 or older).
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
Get your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and remain connected to everybody who’s significant in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be improved.