Kids tend to fall pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bike? That’s typical. Stumbling over your own feet when you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
The same cannot be said as you age. Falling becomes more and 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 people may have a harder time getting up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. As a result, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in people over 65.
That’s why tools and devices that can decrease falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids may be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
In order to figure out why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a related question: is it feasible that hearing loss can increase your risk of falling? It seems as though the answer might be, yes.
So the question is, why would the danger of falling be increased by hearing loss?
There isn’t really an intuitive association. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct effect on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in a higher danger of having a fall. Some of those symptoms include:
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is worn out more often than not. An exhausted brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might wind up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have noticed.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
- Depression: Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation and depression (along with an increased danger of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
- High-pitched sounds get lost: You know how when you go into a concert hall, you instantly detect that you’re in a large venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or how you can immediately tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-pitch sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- You have less situational awareness: When you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the dog barking next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness might be significantly impacted, in other words. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day activities a little more hazardous. And your chance of bumping into something and falling will be slightly higher.
Age is also a consideration when it comes to hearing loss-related falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will raise the chance of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious consequences.
How can hearing aids help decrease falls?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being confirmed by new research. One recent study revealed that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
The relationship between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this obvious. That’s partially because individuals frequently fail to use their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were having a fall. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t using them.
But this new research took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. People who used their hearing aids often were put in a different group than those who wore them occasionally.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less tired. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, many hearing aids have safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help quicker (this is crucial for people older than 65).
Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
You will be able to stay close to your loved ones 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, schedule an appointment with us right away.