Kids tend to fall pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also fairly normal. It’s not really a concern because, well, kids are pretty limber. They don’t usually stay down for long.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can be. 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.
It’s not shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can decrease falls. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss cause falls?
If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely to begin with? It seems as though the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the danger of a fall for people?
There’s not really an intuitive connection. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to see or move. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in a higher risk of having a fall. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely important to your total equilibrium. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. Because of this, you could fall down more often.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You might 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 loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day tasks can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And that means you may be slightly more likely to unintentionally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you go into a concert hall, you instantly detect that you’re in a large venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? That’s because your ears are utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can lead to social isolation and depression (not to mention an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously tired as a result. An alert brain will notice and steer clear of obstacles, which will lessen the chance of having a fall.
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. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe repercussions.
How can hearing aids help minimize falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has borne that out. One recent study revealed that wearing hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
The connection between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this clear. That’s partly because people frequently fail to wear their hearing aids. 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 individuals weren’t using them.
But this new study took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and then were separated from people who wore them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? In general, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less exhausted. The increased situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members if a fall happens. Help will come quicker this way.
Regularly using your hearing aids is the key here.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and stay connected to everybody who’s important in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us right away.