When you’re a kid, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. 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 concern as you grow older. To some extent, that’s because your bones tend to break more easily (and heal slower). Older individuals tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult 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 might have discovered one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to understand why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a related question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It appears as though the answer might be, yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the risk of falling be increased by hearing loss?
There’s not exactly an intuitive association. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to see or move. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated danger of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact 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 little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty maintaining your balance. As a result of this, you could fall down more often.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can detect that you’re in a huge space? Or when you get into a car and you immediately know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as rapidly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. A weary brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have detected.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have untreated hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the barking dog beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness might be significantly impacted, in other words. Can you become clumsy in this way as a result of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, daily activities can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And your chance of bumping into something and falling will be a little higher.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can lead to social solitude and depression (and also an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you may be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.
Part of the connection between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious repercussions.
How can hearing aids help decrease falls?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being confirmed by new research. One recent study revealed that using hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the connection between hearing aids and staying on your feet) were a bit fuzzier. That’s partly because people frequently fail to use their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because individuals weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
The approach of this study was conducted differently and perhaps more accurately. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and then were segregated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? In general, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less tired. The added situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can notify the authorities and family members if a fall happens. Help will come faster this way.
But the key here is to make sure you’re using your hearing aids frequently and consistently.
Get your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and remain in touch with everyone who’s important in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be improved.