Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s typical. Tripping over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also rather typical. It isn’t really a concern because, well, kids are quite limber. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can be. 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 more difficult time getting back up. As a result, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in people over 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can reduce falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It seems as though the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
There isn’t exactly an intuitive association. After all, hearing loss does not directly influence your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated risk of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Exhaustion: When you have neglected hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is always working extra hard. This means your brain is tired more often than not. A weary brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have seen.
- You have less situational awareness: When you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the dog barking next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly affected. Can you become clumsy like this as a result of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day tasks can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And that means you may be slightly more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
- Depression: Social isolation and maybe even mental decline can be the outcome of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially separated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts 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.
- You can’t 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 large space? Or when you jump into a car and you immediately know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-pitch sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as rapidly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-associated falls. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe consequences.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And new research has confirmed that. Your danger of falling could be reduced by as much as 50% according to one study.
The relationship between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this obvious. In part, that’s because not everyone uses 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 broken.
The method of this research was conducted differently and maybe more accurately. Individuals who wore their hearing aids often were classified into a different group than people who used them intermittently.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you avoid falls? In general, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less tired. The increased situational awareness also helped. Additionally, many hearing aids have safety features created to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help faster (this is critical for people 65 or older).
Regularly using your hearing aids is the trick here.
Get your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you catch up 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!
Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be improved.