When you’re a youngster, falling is just a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s normal. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Happens every day. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They rebound pretty easily.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. 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 people tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can reduce falls. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss cause falls?
If you want to fully grasp how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely to begin with? In some instances, it appears that the answer is a strong yes.
So why does hearing loss increase the risk of a fall for people?
There’s not exactly an intuitive link. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased risk of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the dog barking next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness might be significantly affected, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy in this way? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day activities a bit more dangerous. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be slightly higher.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be constantly tired as a result. An alert brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will decrease the risk of falling.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a bit more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. As a result of this, you could fall down more often.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can tell 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 using high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- Depression: Social isolation and possibly even mental decline can be the consequence 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.
Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-induced falls. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe repercussions.
How can the risk of falling be reduced by wearing hearing aids?
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 using hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
The relationship between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. Partly, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
But this new research took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. People who wore their hearing aids now and then were segregated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have added spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.
Regularly using your hearing aids is the trick here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and stay in touch with everyone who’s important in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be improved.