Kids tend to fall pretty much every day. Taking a spill on your bicycle? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also rather typical. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for very long.
The same cannot be said as you age. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can be. In part, that’s because your bones tend to break more easily (and heal slower). Older individuals tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. As a result, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in people older than 65.
It’s not shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt 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 understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall in the first place? It seems as if the answer might be, yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the danger of falling be increased by hearing loss?
That association isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But this sort of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased risk of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely important to your total equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. Because of this, you could fall down more often.
- Depression: Untreated hearing loss can result in social isolation and depression (along with an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping hazards are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have untreated hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the barking dog beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. In other words, your situational awareness might be substantially affected. Can you become clumsy in this way because of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day tasks can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you may be slightly more likely to accidentally bump into something, and have a tumble.
- High-pitched 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 large space? Or when you jump into a car and you immediately know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-frequency sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as rapidly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. A tired brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you might end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have detected.
Age is also a factor with regard to hearing loss-induced falls. As you get older, you’re more likely to develop permanent and progressive 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 serious consequences.
How can the risk of falling be lowered 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 confirmed by new research. Your danger of falling could be decreased by as much as 50% according to one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the connection between hearing aids and staying on your feet) were a little bit less clear. 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 wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because individuals weren’t using them.
But this new research took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. People who used their hearing aids now and again were segregated from individuals who used them all of the time.
So how can you prevent falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more vigilant. The added situational awareness also helped. In addition, many hearing aids come with safety features created to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help quicker (this is essential for people 65 or older).
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
You will be able to stay close to your family members if you use hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.
They can also help prevent a fall!
If you want to find out more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us right away.