Kids tend to fall pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s typical. Getting tripped up while sprinting across the yard. Also fairly normal. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for very long.
The same can’t be said as you age. Falling becomes more and more of a worry as you get older. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals might have a more difficult time standing back up after falling, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can lessen falls. New research appears to suggest that we might have discovered one such device: hearing aids.
Can hearing loss cause falls?
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 in the first place? In some cases, it appears that the answer is a definite affirmative.
So the question is, why would the risk of falling be raised by hearing loss?
There’s not really an intuitive link. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly impact your ability to move or see. But this sort of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased danger of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are some of those symptoms:
- High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you instantly detect that you’re in a large venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually using something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist 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. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is extremely important to your total equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble maintaining your balance. As a result of this, you could fall down more frequently.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You may not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. Your situational awareness could be substantially affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this due to hearing loss? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily tasks slightly more dangerous. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- Exhaustion: When you have neglected hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is often working overtime. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a result. An alert brain will detect and avoid obstacles, which will decrease the risk of falling.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can result in social solitude and depression (not to mention an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you may be more likely to stay at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-induced falls. You’re more likely to develop progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will increase the likelihood of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe 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 should be part of the remedy. And this is being validated by new research. Your risk of falling could be lowered by as much as 50% based on one study.
The link between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this clear. That’s to some extent because individuals often fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were having a fall. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
The approach of this research was conducted differently and perhaps more effectively. People who used their hearing aids now and again were separated from individuals who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, and generally more alert. It also helps that you have added spatial awareness. In addition, many hearing aids come with safety features designed to trigger in the case of a fall. Help will arrive quicker this way.
Regularly using your hearing aids is the trick here.
Get your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and remain connected to everyone who’s significant 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 enhanced.