Kids tend to fall pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Also rather normal. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are pretty limber. They rebound quite easily.
The same can’t be said as you get older. 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 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 individuals older than 65.
It isn’t surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can reduce falls. Hearing aids may 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 related question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It looks as if the answer might be, yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
There isn’t exactly an intuitive connection. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased danger of having a fall. Some of those symptoms include:
- Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely important to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a little more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. As a result of this, you may fall down more frequently.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. An alert brain will identify and avoid obstacles, which will decrease the risk of falling.
- You have less situational awareness: When you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the barking dog next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly impacted. Can you become clumsy like this due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day tasks can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is compromised. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can tell you’re in a large space? Or when you get into a car and you immediately know you’re in close quarters? That’s because your ears are utilizing high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. When you can no longer hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as rapidly or intuitively. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Depression: Social solitude and possibly even mental decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
Age is also a consideration when it comes to hearing loss-induced falls. You’re more likely to develop progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will raise the likelihood of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious repercussions.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has borne that out. Your danger of falling could be lowered by as much as 50% according to one study.
In the past, these numbers (and the relationship between hearing aids and remaining upright) were a bit less clear. That’s to some extent because people frequently fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This was because people weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
The approach of this research was conducted differently and perhaps more effectively. Individuals who used their hearing aids often were classified into a different group than people who used them intermittently.
So why does wearing your hearing aids help you avoid falls? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, 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 assistance faster (this is crucial for people older than 65).
But the key here is to be sure you’re wearing your hearing aids often and consistently.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and stay in touch with everyone who’s important in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.