Kids tend to fall pretty much every day. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s typical. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They rebound pretty easily.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a worry as you grow older. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle 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 isn’t surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can decrease falls. New research appears to indicate that we might have determined one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your risk of falling? In some cases, it seems that the answer is a strong affirmative.
So the question is, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?
That association isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly influence your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated danger of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can result in social isolation 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 hazards abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. This means your brain is exhausted more frequently than not. An attentive brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will decrease the risk of falling.
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is very important to your total equilibrium. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you may 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.
- You have less situational awareness: You might not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. Your situational awareness could be significantly affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this due to hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day activities a little more hazardous. And your risk of bumping into something and falling will be slightly higher.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you immediately detect that you’re in a huge venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. This can lead to disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-associated falls. As you grow older, you’re more likely to experience 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 serious consequences.
How can hearing aids help minimize falls?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has confirmed that. Your risk of falling could be decreased by as much as 50% according to one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the link between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a bit less clear. That’s to some extent because individuals 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 were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t using them.
But this new study took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. Individuals who used their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who wore them occasionally.
So how can you prevent 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. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can notify the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will arrive quicker this way.
Consistently using your hearing aids is the key here.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and remain connected to everybody who’s significant in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
If you want to learn more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us right away.