When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are quite limber. They don’t usually stay down for very long.
The same cannot be said as you get older. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can become. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals might have a more difficult time standing back up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related 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 lessen falls. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
In order to figure out why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a related question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? In some instances, it seems that the answer is a definite yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the danger of a fall for people?
That association isn’t really that intuitive. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in an increased risk of falling. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. Because of this, you may fall down more often.
- High-pitched sounds get lost: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you immediately know that you’re in a spacious venue, even if you close your eyes? Or how you can instantly detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. That’s because your ears are using high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as rapidly or intuitively. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can result in social isolation and depression (not to mention an increased danger of dementia). You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anybody to help you.
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. This means your brain is worn out more frequently than not. An alert brain will notice and steer clear of obstacles, which will lessen the chance of having a fall.
- You have less situational awareness: You may not be able to hear 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 might be significantly affected. Can hearing loss make you clumsy like this? 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 having a fall will be a little higher.
Part of the connection between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to experience permanent and advancing 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 the risk of falling be reduced by wearing hearing aids?
If hearing loss is part of the issue, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy. And new research has borne that out. Your risk of falling could be reduced by up to 50% based on one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the relationship between hearing aids and staying upright) were a little bit less clear. That’s partially because people frequently fail to use their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were falling. 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 maybe more accurate) strategy. Individuals who wore 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 vigilant. It also helps that you have added situational awareness. 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.
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the trick here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and remain connected to everyone who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you remain on your feet, literally!
Make an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.