Kids tend to fall on a daily basis. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Also fairly typical. It’s not really a concern because, well, kids are pretty limber. They rebound quite easily.
The same cannot be said as you get older. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you get older. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. 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-related cause of death in individuals over 65.
It’s not shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can lessen falls. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to figure out why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely to begin with? It appears as though the answer might be, yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the risk of falling be raised by hearing loss?
There’s not exactly an intuitive link. 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 consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- Depression: Social isolation and maybe even mental decline can be the consequence of untreated hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anybody to help you.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you may find yourself a bit more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more often.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. An alert brain will notice and avoid obstacles, which will decrease the chance of falling.
- 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 oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness might be significantly impacted. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy like this? Well, in a way yes, daily tasks can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be slightly higher.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can tell you’re in a huge space? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. That’s because your ears are using high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to quickly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-related falls. You’re more likely to develop progressing and permanent 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 repercussions.
How can the danger of falling be lowered by using hearing aids?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has borne that out. One recent study revealed that wearing hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
In the past, these numbers (and the link between hearing aids and remaining upright) were a bit fuzzier. That’s partially because individuals often fail to wear their hearing aids. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t using them.
The method of this research was carried out differently and maybe more effectively. People who wore their hearing aids now and then were segregated from individuals who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, and generally more vigilant. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, many hearing aids come with safety features designed to trigger in the case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is crucial for individuals 65 or older).
Consistently wearing 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 moments with your loved ones, and stay connected to everyone who’s important in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Make an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be improved.