The Risk of Falls and How Hearing Aids Can Help

Senior woman fell down and is sitting on carpet and touching forehead with hand

Kids tend to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s typical. Stumbling over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also fairly normal. Kids are pretty limber so, no big deal. They don’t typically stay down for very long.

As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes more and more of a concern as you get older. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals may have a harder 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.

It isn’t shocking, 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 falls be caused by hearing loss

If you want to know 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? It looks as if the answer might be, yes.

So why does hearing loss raise the risk of a fall for people?

That connection isn’t really that intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, 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 effect on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can result in a higher danger of having a fall. Here are a few of those symptoms:

  • Depression: Untreated hearing loss can cause social isolation and depression (not to mention an increased risk of dementia). You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.
  • Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly significant to your overall equilibrium. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. Because of this, you could fall down more frequently.
  • High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can detect that you’re in a huge space? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? Your ears are actually using something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can result in disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a result. An exhausted brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have seen.
  • Your situational awareness is impaired: 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. Your situational awareness may be significantly impacted, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this due to hearing loss? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily tasks a bit more dangerous. And your risk of stumbling into something and having a fall will be a little higher.

Part of the link between falling and hearing loss 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 repercussions.

How can hearing aids help reduce falls?

If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution. And new research has confirmed that. One recent study discovered that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.

In the past, these numbers (and the relationship between hearing aids and staying upright) were a bit fuzzier. That’s partially because individuals often fail to use their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t using them.

The approach of this research was carried out differently and perhaps more effectively. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and then were separated from individuals who used them all of the time.

So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? In general, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less tired. It also helps that you have increased spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance quicker (this is essential for people 65 or older).

But the trick here is to be certain you’re wearing your hearing aids frequently and regularly.

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and stay connected to everyone who’s significant in your life.

They can also help you remain on your feet, literally!

Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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