Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also fairly normal. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are kind of limber. They don’t typically stay down for very long.
As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a worry as you get older. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older people tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.
It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can lessen falls. New research appears to indicate that we might have determined 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 related question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely to begin with? In some instances, it appears that the answer is a definite yes.
So why does hearing loss raise the danger of a fall for people?
There’s not really an intuitive association. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in a higher danger of falling. Here are a few of those symptoms:
- High-frequency sounds get lost: 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 how you can immediately detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. Your ears are actually using something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to quickly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.
- 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 might find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty maintaining your balance. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more often.
- Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. An exhausted brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have detected.
- Depression: Social isolation and possibly even mental decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping hazards are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.
- Your situational awareness is impaired: You might not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly affected. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make daily tasks a bit more hazardous. And your chance of stumbling into something and falling will be a little higher.
Part of the connection between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. As you get older, you’re more likely to experience irreversible and progressive hearing loss. That will increase the chance of falling. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.
How can the danger of falling be lowered by using hearing aids?
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 discovered that using hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.
The link between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. That’s partially because people frequently fail to use their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.
The approach of this research was conducted differently and perhaps more accurately. People who used their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who used them occasionally.
So why does using your hearing aids help you avoid falls? They keep you less exhausted, more concentrated, and generally more alert. It also helps that you have increased spatial awareness. Additionally, many hearing aids include safety features created to trigger in the case of a fall. Help will come quicker this way.
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 time with your loved ones, and stay connected to everybody who’s significant in your life.
They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!
If you want to find out more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us right away.