When you’re a youngster, falling is just a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. Kids are pretty limber so, no big deal. They bounce back very easily.
The same can’t be said as you age. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can become. To some extent, 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-connected cause of death in people over 65.
It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can decrease falls. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it feasible that hearing loss can increase your risk of falling? It seems as though the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
That connection isn’t really that intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to see or move. But it turns out there are a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in an increased risk of having a fall. Some of those symptoms include:
- Depression: Social isolation and maybe even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
- 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 oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be substantially impacted. Can you become clumsy in this way because of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, daily activities can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you may be a little bit more likely to unintentionally bump into something, and take a tumble.
- Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is often working overtime. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a result. An alert brain will detect and steer clear of obstacles, which will decrease the likelihood of falling.
- High-pitched sounds get lost: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you instantly know that you’re in a huge venue, even if you close your eyes? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. Your ears are actually utilizing something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your overall equilibrium. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
Part of the connection between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious consequences.
How can hearing aids help minimize falls?
If hearing loss is part of the issue, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study discovered that wearing hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the relationship between hearing aids and remaining upright) were a bit less clear. In part, that’s because not everybody uses their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how frequently 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 used their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who wore them occasionally.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more vigilant. The increased situational awareness also helped. In addition, many hearing aids include safety features created to trigger in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help faster (this is crucial for people 65 or older).
But the key here is to be certain you’re using your hearing aids often and regularly.
Get your fall prevention devices today
You will be able to stay close to your family members if you wear 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 today.