Kids tend to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They bounce back very easily.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can be. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals might have a more difficult time standing back up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
It’s not shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can decrease falls. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to determine why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: is it feasible that hearing loss can raise your chance of having a fall? It appears as if the answer might be, yes.
So the question is, why would the risk of falling be raised by hearing loss?
There isn’t really an intuitive link. After all, hearing loss does not directly influence your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased risk of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a consequence. An exhausted brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have noticed.
- Depression: Social isolation and possibly even mental decline can be the consequence of untreated hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anyone to help you.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you go into a concert hall, you immediately detect that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. That’s because your ears are utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your overall equilibrium. 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 frequently.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You might not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be substantially affected. Can you become clumsy in this way because of hearing loss? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily tasks a little more hazardous. And that means you might be slightly more likely to unintentionally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
Part of the link between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. That will increase the probability of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe repercussions.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the remedy. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study revealed that using hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and staying on your feet) were a little less clear. In part, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t using them.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. Individuals who used their hearing aids often were put in a different group than people who wore them intermittently.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less exhausted, more concentrated, and generally more alert. The added situational awareness also helped. Additionally, many hearing aids include safety features designed to trigger in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help quicker (this is crucial for individuals 65 or older).
Consistently using your hearing aids is the trick here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and remain in touch with everyone who’s important in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
If you want to learn more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us today.