When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? That’s typical. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Happens every day. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are pretty limber. They don’t usually stay down for very long.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can become. To some extent, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older people might have a harder time standing back up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain 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 after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to understand why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? In some situations, it appears that the answer is a strong yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
That link isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased risk of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be constantly exhausted as a result. An exhausted brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might wind up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have seen.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your total 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 maintaining your balance. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more often.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can detect that you’re in a large space? Or how you can immediately detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. That’s because your ears are utilizing high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- You have less situational awareness: 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 neglected hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness might be substantially impacted. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, daily activities can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And your chance of stumbling into something and falling will be a little higher.
- Depression: Social solitude and maybe even cognitive decline can be the result of untreated hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anybody to help you.
Age is also a factor with regard to hearing loss-related falls. As you age, you’re more likely to develop permanent and progressive hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious repercussions.
How can the danger of falling be reduced by using hearing aids?
If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy. And new research has borne that out. Your danger of falling could be lowered by as much as 50% based on one study.
In the past, these figures (and the connection between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a little fuzzier. In part, that’s because not everybody uses their hearing aids all of the time. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because individuals weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
The method of this study was conducted differently and maybe more effectively. People who used their hearing aids frequently were put in a different group than those who wore them occasionally.
So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? In general, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less exhausted. It also helps that you have added spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert 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 reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and remain connected to everybody who’s important in your life.
They can also help you remain 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.