When you’re a kid, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s normal. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are pretty limber. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
The same can’t be said as you age. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can become. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can lessen falls. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
If you want to fully grasp 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? In some cases, it seems that the answer is a definite yes.
So you have to ask yourself, 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 see or move. But it turns out there are some 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 risk of falling. Some of those symptoms include:
- You have less situational awareness: You may not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly impacted. Can you become clumsy in this way as a result of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day activities a bit more dangerous. And that means you might be slightly more likely to accidentally bump into something, and have a fall.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a bit more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. As a result of this, you may fall down more often.
- High-pitched sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can tell you’re in a large space? Or when you get into a car and you immediately know you’re in a small space? Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “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. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Depression: Social isolation and maybe even mental decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. 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.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be constantly exhausted as a result. An exhausted brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have seen.
Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-induced falls. As you get older, you’re more likely to develop irreversible and advancing hearing loss. That will increase the chance of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious repercussions.
How can hearing aids help minimize falls?
It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study revealed that wearing hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and staying on your feet) were a bit fuzzier. That’s partly because individuals often fail to use their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This was because people weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
The method of this study was carried out differently and perhaps more effectively. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and again were separated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, and generally more vigilant. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. 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 help quicker (this is critical for individuals older than 65).
But the trick here is to be sure you’re wearing your hearing aids often and consistently.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and remain in touch with everyone who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.