Kids have a tendency to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s normal. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Happens every day. It isn’t really a concern because, well, kids are pretty limber. They don’t typically stay down for long.
As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can be. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal slower). Older people might have a more difficult time getting up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-associated cause of death as a result.
That’s why tools and devices that can minimize falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids may be just such a device according to research.
Can falls be caused by hearing loss
In order to understand why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It appears as if the answer may be, yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. 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 impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased risk of falling. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. Because of this, you could fall down more often.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be constantly tired as a consequence. A tired brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you might wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have seen.
- Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. 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.
- You have less situational awareness: You might not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness might be substantially impacted. Can you become clumsy in this way because of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, everyday tasks can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And that means you might be slightly more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and have a fall.
- You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: 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? That’s because your ears are using high-pitched 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-frequency tones. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-related falls. As you grow older, you’re more likely to experience irreversible and advancing hearing loss. That will increase the probability of falling. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.
How can hearing aids help minimize falls?
It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study found that wearing hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
In the past, these numbers (and the link between hearing aids and remaining upright) were a little less clear. In part, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t wearing them.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. People who wore their hearing aids often were put in a different group than those who used them intermittently.
So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less exhausted, more concentrated, and generally more alert. The added situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members if a fall happens. Help will come faster this way.
Regularly wearing your hearing aids is the key here.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
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 you remain on your feet, literally!
If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us today.