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

Kids have a tendency to fall on a daily basis. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s normal. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Also pretty normal. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. 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. To some extent, that’s because your bones tend to break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older people 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.

It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can decrease falls. New research seems to suggest that we might have found one such device: hearing aids.

Can hearing loss lead to falls?

If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? In some cases, it seems that the answer is a strong yes.

So the question is, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?

That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss does not directly 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 effect on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased risk of having a fall. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a result. An alert brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will lessen the chance of having a fall.
  • Depression: Neglected hearing loss can result in social isolation and depression (along with an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially isolated, you may be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
  • Loss of balance: How does hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is extremely significant to your total equilibrium. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts the inner ear. As a result of this, you may fall down more frequently.
  • You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can detect that you’re in a huge space? Or how you can instantly detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. That’s because your ears are using high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can cause disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the dog barking next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness could be substantially impacted, in other words. Can you become clumsy in this way because of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to unintentionally bump into something, and have a fall.

Part of the connection between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. You’re more likely to develop progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will increase the likelihood of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe consequences.

How can the danger of falling be reduced by using hearing aids?

If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study discovered that wearing hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.

In the past, these numbers (and the link between hearing aids and staying on your feet) were a little bit less clear. In part, that’s because not everyone uses their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were falling. This was because individuals weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.

The method of this research was carried out differently and perhaps more accurately. Those who wore their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who wore them intermittently.

So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more alert, more concentrated, and less fatigued. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased situational awareness. Additionally, many hearing aids come with safety features created to activate in the case of a fall. Help will arrive quicker this way.

Consistently using your hearing aids is the key here.

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and stay in touch with everyone who’s significant in your life.

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

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

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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.