Hearcare  INC., & Associates - Sherman & Gainesville, TX

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

When you’re a kid, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? That’s typical. Tripping over your own feet while you’re running outside? Happens every day. It’s not really a concern because, well, kids are kind of limber. They bounce back quite easily.

The same cannot be said as you get older. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can become. In part, that’s because your bones tend to break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older people may have a harder time standing back 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.

It isn’t surprising, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can reduce falls. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.

Can falls be caused by hearing loss

If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? In some instances, it seems that the answer is a definite yes.

So you have to ask yourself, why would the risk of falling be raised by hearing loss?

There isn’t really an intuitive link. 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 type of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased danger of falling. Here are some of those symptoms:

  • Your situational awareness is impaired: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking 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 like this because of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make daily tasks a bit more hazardous. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be slightly higher.
  • Depression: Neglected hearing loss can lead to social solitude and depression (and also an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially isolated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping dangers are everywhere, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
  • High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you go into a concert hall, 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 instantly know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually utilizing something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can cause disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. This means your brain is worn out more frequently than not. An exhausted brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might wind up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have noticed.
  • Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is very important to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you might find yourself a bit more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.

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 progressive 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 the danger of falling be decreased by wearing hearing aids?

If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the solution. And this is being validated by new research. Your danger of falling could be decreased by as much as 50% based on one study.

The relationship between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this obvious. That’s partly because people frequently fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.

The approach of this study was conducted differently and maybe more effectively. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and then were separated from individuals who wore them all of the time.

So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? Generally speaking, they keep you more alert, more focused, and less exhausted. The added situational awareness also helped. 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 faster (this is crucial for people 65 or older).

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

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and remain connected to everyone who’s important in your life.

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

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

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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.
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