Kids tend to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also pretty typical. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are pretty limber. They bounce back pretty easily.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes more and more of a concern as you age. To some extent, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older individuals might have a harder time standing back up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
That’s why tools and devices that can reduce falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. New research seems to indicate that we might have determined one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to fully grasp how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It seems as if the answer may be, yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the danger of falling be increased by hearing loss?
That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect 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 move around, and these symptoms can result in an increased danger of falling. Here are some of those symptoms:
- High-pitched sounds get lost: You know how when you go into an auditorium, you instantly know that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? 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. This can lead to disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. A tired brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have detected.
- Depression: Neglected hearing loss can lead to social solitude and depression (and also an increased danger of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- You have less situational awareness: When you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the dog barking beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness might be substantially impacted, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this due to hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day tasks a bit more dangerous. And that means you could be slightly more likely to unintentionally bump into something, and have a tumble.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble maintaining your balance. As a result of this, you may fall down more frequently.
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 raise the likelihood 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 solution when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has confirmed that. One recent study discovered that using hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.
The connection between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. That’s partially because people often fail to wear their hearing aids. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because individuals weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and again were separated from individuals who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance quicker (this is critical for individuals older than 65).
But the key here is to make sure you’re wearing your hearing aids often and consistently.
Get your fall prevention devices today
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 you remain on your feet, literally!
If you want to find out more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us right away.