When you’re a youngster, falling is just a part of life. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? That’s typical. Getting tripped up when 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.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you grow older. To some extent, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal slower). Older people tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in people over 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
If you want to understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? In some instances, it appears that the answer is a strong yes.
So the question is, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?
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 certain symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can result in a higher danger of having a fall. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is often working overtime. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a result. An alert brain will identify and avoid obstacles, which will lessen the chance of falling.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you might find yourself a bit more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you immediately know that you’re in a huge venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or easily. This can result in disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You may 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 may be substantially affected, in other words. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy like this? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make everyday activities a little more hazardous. And that means you may be a little bit more likely to unintentionally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
- Depression: Social isolation and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of untreated hearing loss. 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.
Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to experience irreversible and advancing hearing loss. That will raise the likelihood of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe repercussions.
How can the risk of falling be lowered by wearing hearing aids?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And this is being validated by new research. Your danger of falling could be lowered by as much as 50% according to one study.
In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a little bit fuzzier. In part, that’s because not everyone wears their hearing aids all of the time. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This was because individuals weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
The method of this study was carried out differently and maybe more effectively. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and then were separated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So why does using your hearing aids help you avoid falls? In general, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less tired. It also helps that you have increased situational awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.
Regularly using your hearing aids is the key here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and stay in touch with everybody who’s significant 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, schedule an appointment with us right away.