When you’re a youngster, falling is just a part of life. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Also fairly typical. It isn’t really a concern because, well, kids are kind of limber. They rebound very easily.
The same cannot be said as you age. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you get older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older people tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. As a result, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals older than 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. 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 avert falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It looks as if the answer may be, yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?
There’s not exactly an intuitive connection. After all, hearing loss does not directly impact your ability to move or see. But this sort of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated danger of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a consequence. An alert brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will lessen the chance of having a fall.
- Depression: Social isolation and possibly even mental decline can be the consequence of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anybody to help you.
- You have less situational awareness: You might not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly impacted. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy like this? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day activities can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And your risk of stumbling into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you go into a concert hall, you instantly know that you’re in a large venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? That’s because your ears are using high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as rapidly or intuitively. This can cause disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. Because of this, you may fall down more often.
Age is also a factor with regard to hearing loss-induced falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will raise the likelihood of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe repercussions.
How can the risk of falling be decreased by using hearing aids?
If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study found that wearing hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
The relationship between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. That’s partially because individuals often fail to use their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were having a fall. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because people weren’t using them.
But this new research took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. Individuals who used their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who wore them intermittently.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? In general, they keep you more alert, more concentrated, and less fatigued. The increased situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members if a fall happens. Help will arrive quicker this way.
Consistently wearing 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 moments with your loved ones, 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 today if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be improved.