When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? That’s normal. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also fairly normal. It isn’t really a concern because, well, kids are quite limber. They don’t usually stay down for long.
The same can’t be said as you age. Falling becomes more and more of a concern as you grow older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Falling is the leading injury-associated cause of death as a result.
That’s why tools and devices that can reduce falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
If you want to understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it feasible that hearing loss can raise your chance of falling? In some situations, it appears that the answer is a strong yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the risk of falling be raised by hearing loss?
There’s not exactly an intuitive link. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to move or see. But this type of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased danger of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:
- You have less situational awareness: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. Your situational awareness might be substantially affected, in other words. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily tasks a little more dangerous. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and take a tumble.
- Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely significant to your total equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to get dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. As a result of this, you may fall down more often.
- Depression: Social solitude and maybe even cognitive decline can be the consequence of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anyone to help you.
- You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into an arena, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can detect that you’re in a huge space? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually utilizing something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-pitch sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or easily. This can lead to disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
- Exhaustion: When you have neglected hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is often working overtime. This means your brain is worn out more often than not. A weary brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have seen.
Part of the connection between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.
How can hearing aids help reduce falls?
If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the solution. And this is being validated by new research. Your danger of falling could be decreased by up to 50% based on one study.
The link between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this clear. In part, that’s because not everyone wears their hearing aids all of the time. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because individuals weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) approach. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were separated from individuals who used them all of the time.
So how can you prevent falls by wearing hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more vigilant. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, many hearing aids have safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help faster (this is critical for individuals 65 or older).
But the key here is to be sure you’re wearing your hearing aids frequently and consistently.
Prevent falls with new hearing aids
Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and remain in touch with everybody who’s important in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.