Kids have a tendency to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s typical. Getting tripped up while sprinting across the yard. Also rather typical. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for long.
As you get 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 tend to break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older individuals might have a more difficult 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-related cause of death in people older than 65.
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 might have discovered one such device: hearing aids.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
If you want to fully grasp how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? In some situations, it seems that the answer is a definite affirmative.
So the question is, why would the risk of falling be raised by hearing loss?
That connection isn’t really that intuitive. After all, hearing loss does not directly impact 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 a few of those symptoms:
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the barking dog beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly impacted. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, in a way yes, daily tasks can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And your chance of bumping into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- 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 large venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-frequency sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as rapidly or easily. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a result. A weary brain is less likely to see 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: Untreated hearing loss can result in social isolation 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 dangers will be all around without anyone to help you.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects your inner ear. As a result of this, you may fall down more often.
Part of the connection between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to develop permanent and advancing 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 consequences.
How can hearing aids help decrease falls?
If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution. And this is being confirmed by new research. One recent study discovered that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
In the past, these figures (and the relationship between hearing aids and staying upright) were a little fuzzier. That’s partially because individuals often fail to wear their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because individuals weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.
The method of this research was carried out differently and perhaps more accurately. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were segregated from people who used them all of the time.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less exhausted. It also helps that you have added spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members if a fall happens. This can mean you get help faster (this is essential for individuals older than 65).
But the trick here is to make sure you’re using your hearing aids often and consistently.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
You will be able to remain close to your loved ones if you wear hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Make an appointment with us today if you want to know more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.