When you’re a kid, falling is just a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also fairly typical. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
The same can’t be said as you age. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you age. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals might have a harder time standing back up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. 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 reduce falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. New research appears to suggest that we might have found one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to determine why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? In some situations, it seems that the answer is a strong yes.
So the question is, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?
That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly influence your ability to move or see. But this sort of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated risk of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a little more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble maintaining your balance. Because of this, you could fall down more often.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can tell you’re in a large space? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? Your ears are actually using something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to quickly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.
- Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is often working overtime. This means your brain is exhausted more often than not. An attentive brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will reduce the risk of falling.
- Depression: Social isolation and maybe even mental decline can be the outcome of untreated hearing loss. When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- You have less situational awareness: You might not be capable of hearing 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 might be significantly affected, in other words. 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 risk of stumbling into something and falling will be slightly higher.
Age is also a consideration when it comes to hearing loss-related falls. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.
How can the danger of falling be reduced by wearing hearing aids?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being confirmed by new research. One recent study found that wearing hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a bit less clear. That’s to some extent because individuals often fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because people weren’t wearing them.
The method of this research was conducted differently and maybe more precisely. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and again were separated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less exhausted. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased spatial awareness. Additionally, many hearing aids come with safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance quicker (this is essential for individuals 65 or older).
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 time with your loved ones, and remain in touch with everybody who’s important in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.