Kids have a tendency to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s typical. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. Kids are pretty limber so, no big deal. They rebound pretty easily.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can become. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals may have a more difficult time getting up after falling, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. New research seems to suggest that we may have found one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to understand why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a related question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely to begin with? It looks as if the answer may be, yes.
So the question is, why would the danger of falling be increased by hearing loss?
There’s not exactly an intuitive connection. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to see or move. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to a higher risk of having a fall. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your general balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you might find yourself a bit more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more often.
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with 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 alert brain will notice and steer clear of obstacles, which will lessen the likelihood of having a fall.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can tell you’re in a large space? Or how you can immediately detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as rapidly or easily. This can result in disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- You have less situational awareness: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness might be significantly affected. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, daily activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is compromised. And your chance of bumping into something and falling will be slightly higher.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can lead to social solitude 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 dangers abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
Part of the connection between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. You’re more likely to experience progressing and irreversible hearing loss. That will raise the likelihood of falling. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious repercussions.
How can the risk of falling be lowered by wearing hearing aids?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has confirmed that. One recent study discovered that using 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 to some extent because individuals frequently fail to use their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because individuals weren’t using them.
But this new study took a different (and perhaps more accurate) strategy. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were separated from people who wore them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less exhausted, more concentrated, and generally more vigilant. It doesn’t hurt 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 faster this way.
But the trick here is to be sure you’re wearing your hearing aids frequently and regularly.
Get your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and remain in touch with everyone who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you remain on your feet, literally!
If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us today.