When you’re a kid, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s typical. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Also pretty normal. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are pretty limber. They rebound very easily.
The same can’t be said as you age. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can be. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals might have a harder time getting up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can decrease falls. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
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: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It appears as though the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the risk of a fall for people?
There’s not really an intuitive association. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly impact your ability to move or see. But this sort of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated risk of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be substantially impacted. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily activities slightly more hazardous. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be slightly higher.
- Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is always working overtime. This means your brain is tired more often than not. An exhausted 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 alert brain would have detected.
- Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anybody to help you.
- 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 how you can immediately detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or easily. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely significant to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you might find yourself a bit more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble maintaining your balance. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
Age is also a factor with regard to hearing loss-induced falls. As you age, you’re more likely to develop permanent and advancing hearing loss. That will increase the likelihood of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe repercussions.
How can hearing aids help reduce 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 discovered that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
In the past, these numbers (and the connection between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a bit less clear. In part, that’s because not everyone uses 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 were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t wearing them.
But this new research took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. People who used their hearing aids now and then were segregated from people who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more alert. It also helps 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. This can mean you get help quicker (this is essential for individuals older than 65).
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
Get 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 important in your life.
They can also help you remain on your feet, literally!
If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us today.