When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s typical. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Happens every day. Kids are pretty limber so, no big deal. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
The same cannot be said as you get older. Falling becomes much more of a worry as you grow older. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older people tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a harder 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 decrease falls. New research appears to indicate that we may have determined one such device: hearing aids.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
If you want to understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: is it feasible that hearing loss can increase your risk of falling? It looks as though the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
That association isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect 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 impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in an increased danger of having a fall. Some of those symptoms include:
- Exhaustion: When you have neglected hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is always working overtime. This means your brain is tired more frequently than not. A weary brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you might end up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have noticed.
- Depression: Untreated hearing loss can cause social solitude and depression (not to mention an increased risk of dementia). You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely important to your total equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. As a result of this, you could fall down more frequently.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: 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 affected. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, in a way yes, daily tasks can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you might be slightly more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
- You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into an arena, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can detect that you’re in a huge space? Or when you jump into a car and you immediately 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 judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can result in disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe repercussions.
How can hearing aids help decrease falls?
If hearing loss is part of the issue, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the remedy. And this is being confirmed by new research. One recent study found that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
The link between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. That’s partially because people often fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because people weren’t wearing them.
The method of this study was carried out differently and perhaps more accurately. Those who wore their hearing aids often were put in a different group than people who wore them intermittently.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less fatigued. It also helps that you have increased situational awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is critical for individuals older than 65).
But the trick here is to be certain you’re wearing your hearing aids frequently and regularly.
Get your fall prevention devices today
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!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.