Kids tend to fall pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up while sprinting across the yard. Happens all of the time. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are pretty limber. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
The same cannot be said as you get older. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can be. In part, that’s because your bones tend to break more easily (and heal slower). Older people tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. As a result, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals over 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can decrease falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to determine why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a related question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It seems as if the answer may be, yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the danger of a fall for people?
That association isn’t really that intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to see or move. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated danger of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is extremely significant to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more often.
- Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. Your brain will be constantly tired as a consequence. A weary brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you might wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have detected.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can lead to social solitude and depression (and also an increased danger of dementia). When you’re socially isolated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
- 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 oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly affected. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, daily activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is compromised. And your chance of bumping into something and having a fall will be slightly higher.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into a concert hall, you instantly detect that you’re in a huge venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? That’s because your ears are using high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. When you can no longer hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or easily. This can result in disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to develop permanent and advancing hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.
How can hearing aids help minimize falls?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the issue. And this is being confirmed by new research. Your risk of falling could be reduced by up to 50% based on one study.
In the past, these figures (and the connection between hearing aids and staying on your feet) were a little bit less clear. In part, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This was because individuals weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
The approach of this research was conducted differently and maybe more accurately. People who used their hearing aids now and again were separated from people who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less tired. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, many hearing aids come with safety features created to activate in the case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.
Consistently 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 family members, and stay in touch with everybody who’s important in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
If you want to find out more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us right away.