When you’re a kid, falling is just a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also rather typical. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
The same can’t be said as you age. Falling becomes much more of a worry as you get older. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals might have a more difficult time getting up after a tumble, 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 minimize falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.
Can hearing loss bring about falls?
If you want to fully grasp how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can raise your chance of having a fall? In some instances, it appears that the answer is a definite yes.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the risk of falling be increased by hearing loss?
That association isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss does not directly influence your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to a higher risk of having a fall. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- High-pitched sounds get lost: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you immediately detect that you’re in a spacious venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
- Depression: Social isolation and maybe even cognitive decline can be the consequence of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is worn out more often than not. An alert brain will notice and avoid obstacles, which will decrease the risk of falling.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the barking dog beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness could be substantially affected, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy like this? Well, in a way yes, daily tasks can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
- Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-related falls. As you grow older, you’re more likely to develop irreversible and progressive hearing loss. That will raise the likelihood of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe repercussions.
How can the risk of falling be lowered by wearing hearing aids?
If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the remedy. And new research has borne that out. One recent study found 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 on your feet) were a little bit less 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 wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because individuals weren’t using them.
The method of this study was carried out differently and maybe more effectively. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were separated from individuals who wore them all of the time.
So why does using your hearing aids help you avoid falls? Generally speaking, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less tired. It also helps that you have added situational awareness. Additionally, many hearing aids come with safety features created to trigger in the case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.
But the trick here is to be sure you’re using your hearing aids often and regularly.
Invest in your fall prevention devices today
Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and remain connected to everybody who’s significant in your life.
They can also help prevent a fall!
Make an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.