Kids tend to fall on a daily basis. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Happens every day. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They rebound very easily.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes more and more of a worry as you get older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals may have a harder time getting up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related 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 may have found one such device: hearing aids.
Can hearing loss lead to falls?
In order to figure out why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your chance of falling? It looks as if the answer may be, yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the risk of falling be increased by hearing loss?
That link isn’t really that intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But this type of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated risk of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can result in social solitude and depression (not to mention an increased danger of dementia). You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anybody to help you.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? 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 get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty maintaining your balance. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You might not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. Your situational awareness might be significantly impacted, in other words. Can hearing loss 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 bump into something, and take a tumble.
- You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you immediately know that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. This can lead to disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is always working extra hard. This means your brain is worn out more frequently than not. An attentive brain will notice and avoid obstacles, which will reduce the risk of having a fall.
Age is also a factor with regard to hearing loss-associated falls. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious repercussions.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the problem. And new research has confirmed that. Your risk of falling could be lowered by as much as 50% according to one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the relationship between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a bit less clear. That’s partially because people frequently fail to wear their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.
The approach of this research was conducted differently and maybe more precisely. Those who used their hearing aids often were classified into a different group than those who used them intermittently.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, and generally more vigilant. It also helps that you have increased spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can notify the authorities and family members if a fall happens. Help will arrive quicker this way.
Regularly using 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 moments with your loved ones, and remain in touch with everyone who’s important in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.