Hearing Aids Can Decrease the Danger of Falling

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

Kids tend to fall on a daily basis. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also rather normal. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are kind of limber. They rebound pretty easily.

As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes more and more of a concern as you get older. To some extent, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older people may have a more difficult time getting up after falling, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-associated cause of death as a result.

That’s why tools and devices that can decrease falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. New research appears to suggest that we might have determined one such device: hearing aids.

Can falls be caused by hearing loss

In order to figure out why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a related question: is it possible that hearing loss can raise your risk of having a fall? It seems as if the answer might be, 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. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly influence your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated danger of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Depression: Social isolation and possibly even mental decline can be the result of untreated hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is very important to your total equilibrium. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts the inner ear. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
  • Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. This means your brain is worn out more often than not. A weary brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have detected.
  • You have less situational awareness: You might not be capable of hearing 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 affected. Can you become clumsy in this way because of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, everyday activities can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to accidentally bump into something, and have a fall.
  • You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you go into an auditorium, you instantly know that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or when you get into a car and you immediately know you’re in a small space? Your ears are actually using something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the consequences.

Part of the link between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to experience permanent and advancing hearing loss. That will raise the probability of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious consequences.

How can hearing aids help decrease falls?

If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the remedy. And new research has confirmed that. One recent study revealed that wearing hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.

In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and remaining upright) were a little fuzzier. That’s partly because individuals frequently fail to use their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because individuals weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.

But this new research took a different (and maybe more accurate) approach. People who used their hearing aids now and then were separated from people who wore them all of the time.

So why does using your hearing aids help you prevent falls? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less exhausted. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased situational awareness. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.

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

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

You will be able to remain close to your loved ones if you use hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.

They can also help prevent a fall!

If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us today.

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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