When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also rather typical. It isn’t really a concern because, well, kids are kind of limber. They rebound very easily.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes more and more of a worry as you get older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older people might have a more difficult time getting up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-associated cause of death as a result.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to understand why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? It seems as though the answer might be, yes.
So the question is, why would the risk of falling be increased by hearing loss?
That link isn’t really that intuitive. 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. Some of those symptoms include:
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with neglected hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is always working extra hard. Your brain will be continuously tired as a result. An exhausted brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have seen.
- Depression: Untreated hearing loss can lead to social solitude and depression (along with an increased risk of dementia). You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anybody to help you.
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- 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 large space? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or intuitively. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- You have less situational awareness: You may not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness might be substantially impacted. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, everyday activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you may be slightly more likely to unintentionally bump into something, and take a tumble.
Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. You’re more likely to experience progressing and irreversible hearing loss. That will increase the likelihood of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe consequences.
How can the danger of falling be decreased by using hearing aids?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has borne that out. One recent study discovered that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
The link between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. In part, that’s because not everyone uses their hearing aids all of the time. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because people weren’t wearing them.
The approach of this research was conducted differently and perhaps more effectively. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and then were segregated from people who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can notify the authorities and family members in case of a fall. This can mean you get help faster (this is crucial for people older than 65).
Regularly wearing your hearing aids is the trick here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
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!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be improved.