Kids have a tendency to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also fairly typical. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are kind of limber. They bounce back quite easily.
As you get 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 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. Consequently, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals older than 65.
It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can decrease falls. New research seems to indicate that we may have discovered one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it feasible that hearing loss can raise your chance of falling? In some cases, it appears that the answer is a definite yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the risk of a fall for people?
That link isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to see or move. But this type of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated risk of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are some of those symptoms:
- You can’t 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 huge space? Or how you can immediately detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. That’s because your ears are utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. When you can no longer hear high-frequency sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as quickly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anybody to help you.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. Your situational awareness could be significantly affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this because of hearing loss? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day tasks a bit more hazardous. And your risk of stumbling into something and falling will be slightly higher.
- Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is always working overtime. This means your brain is worn out more often than not. An exhausted brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have detected.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your overall balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects your inner ear. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more often.
Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-induced falls. As you age, you’re more likely to develop irreversible and advancing hearing loss. That will raise the chance of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.
How can hearing aids help minimize falls?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has confirmed that. One recent study found that wearing hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
The relationship between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this obvious. That’s partially because people frequently fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were having a fall. This was because individuals weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) approach. Individuals who wore their hearing aids frequently were put in a different group than people who wore them intermittently.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you avoid falls? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased situational awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can notify the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will arrive quicker this way.
But the key here is to be certain you’re using your hearing aids frequently and consistently.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
You will be able to remain close to your loved ones if you wear hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.
They can also help you stay 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.