When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Also rather typical. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for long.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a worry as you grow older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals tend to spend more time lying 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 isn’t shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can reduce falls. Hearing aids may be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to fully grasp how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your risk of falling? It looks as though the answer might be, yes.
So the question is, why would the risk of falling be raised by hearing loss?
There’s not really an intuitive connection. 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. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- You have less situational awareness: You might not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. Your situational awareness might be significantly affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this as a result of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is compromised. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. This means your brain is exhausted more often than not. An attentive brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will reduce the chance of falling.
- Depression: Social isolation and maybe 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 dangers will be all around without anyone to help you.
- High-pitched sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can detect that you’re in a large space? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are using high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can cause disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your total equilibrium. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. Because of this, you may fall down more frequently.
Part of the connection between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. As you age, you’re more likely to experience permanent and advancing 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 severe repercussions.
How can the risk of falling be lowered by using hearing aids?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study revealed that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
The connection between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. That’s to some extent because people often fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were having a fall. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. People who used their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who wore them intermittently.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you avoid falls? In general, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less tired. It also helps that you have increased spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members if a fall happens. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is crucial for people 65 or older).
But the key here is to make sure you’re using your hearing aids frequently and regularly.
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 learn more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us right away.