Kids tend to fall on a daily basis. Taking a spill on your bicycle? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also fairly normal. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for very long.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you grow older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Consequently, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in people older than 65.
It isn’t shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can decrease falls. New research appears to suggest that we might have discovered one such device: hearing aids.
Can hearing loss cause falls?
In order to figure out why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: is it feasible that hearing loss can increase your chance of falling? In some instances, it appears that the answer is a definite affirmative.
So the question is, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?
That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss does not directly impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are certain symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct effect on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in an increased danger of having a fall. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. As a result of this, you could fall down more often.
- 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 oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. Your situational awareness may be substantially impacted, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy like this? Well, in a way yes, daily activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you could be a little bit more likely to unintentionally stumble into something, and have a fall.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: 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 when you jump into a car and you immediately know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are using high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
- Depression: Social solitude and maybe even cognitive decline can be the outcome of untreated hearing loss. You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.
- Exhaustion: When you have neglected hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. Your brain will be constantly tired as a result. An exhausted 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 alert brain would have seen.
Age is also a consideration when it comes to hearing loss-associated falls. As you grow older, you’re more likely to develop 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 serious consequences.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being confirmed by new research. Your risk of falling could be reduced by up to 50% according to one study.
The connection between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this clear. Partly, that’s because not everybody wears 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.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. People who used their hearing aids now and then were segregated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So how can you prevent falls by wearing hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less fatigued. It also helps that you have increased spatial awareness. In addition, many hearing aids come with safety features designed to trigger in the case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.
But the key here is to be sure you’re using your hearing aids often and consistently.
Get your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your loved ones, and remain in touch with everybody who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
If you want to find out more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us right away.