Hearing Aids Can Minimize the Danger of Falling

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

Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also fairly normal. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They rebound quite easily.

The same cannot be said as you age. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can become. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older people tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals older than 65.

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

Can hearing loss cause falls?

If you want to understand how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall in the first place? It looks as though the answer might be, yes.

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

There’s not exactly an intuitive connection. 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 an increased danger of having a fall. Here are some of those symptoms:

  • Loss of balance: How can hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is very important to your total equilibrium. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects your inner ear. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more often.
  • You have less situational awareness: When you have untreated hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the barking dog next to you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. In other words, your situational awareness might be significantly affected. Can hearing loss make you clumsy in this way? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day activities a little more dangerous. And your chance of bumping into something and having a fall will be a little higher.
  • Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with neglected hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is often working overtime. This means your brain is exhausted more frequently 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 noticed.
  • High-pitched 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 immediately know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “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-pitched tones. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • Depression: Social solitude and possibly even mental decline can be the outcome of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anybody to help you.

Age is also a consideration when it comes to hearing loss-related falls. As you age, you’re more likely to develop irreversible and advancing hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious repercussions.

How can the danger of falling be lowered by wearing hearing aids?

It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And new research has borne that out. One recent study discovered that wearing hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.

In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a little bit less clear. Partly, that’s because not everybody uses their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were having a fall. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.

The method of this study was conducted differently and perhaps more precisely. Those who wore their hearing aids often were classified into a different group than those who used them intermittently.

So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? In general, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less tired. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, many hearing aids include safety features created to trigger in the case of a fall. Help will arrive quicker this way.

But the key here is to be sure you’re using your hearing aids often and consistently.

Invest in your fall prevention devices today

You will be able to remain close to your family members if you wear hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.

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

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

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.