Kids tend to fall pretty much every day. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? That’s normal. Getting tripped up while running across the yard. Happens every day. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are pretty limber. They don’t usually stay down for long.
The same cannot be said as you get older. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you grow older. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older people may have a harder time standing back up after falling, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Consequently, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in people older than 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? It appears as though the answer may be, yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the risk of a fall for people?
That association isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to see or move. 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:
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously tired as a result. A tired brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might wind up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have detected.
- You have less situational awareness: 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 substantially impacted, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy in this way? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily activities a bit more hazardous. And your risk of stumbling into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- Depression: Social isolation and maybe even mental decline can be the result 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.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can detect that you’re in a large space? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-pitch sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as rapidly or intuitively. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely significant to your total equilibrium. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more often.
Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to develop irreversible and advancing hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. 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 issue. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study revealed that wearing hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
In the past, these numbers (and the relationship between hearing aids and staying upright) were a bit fuzzier. In part, that’s because not everyone uses their hearing aids all of the time. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
The approach of this research was carried out differently and perhaps more accurately. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and again were segregated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? They keep you less exhausted, more concentrated, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased spatial awareness. In addition, many hearing aids come with safety features created to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help quicker (this is crucial for individuals 65 or older).
Regularly wearing your hearing aids is the trick here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and stay in touch with everybody who’s important in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.