The Danger of Falls and How Hearing Aids Can Help

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

When you’re a kid, falling is just a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Also rather normal. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They rebound quite easily.

As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can be. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in individuals older than 65.

That’s why tools and devices that can reduce falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. New research appears to indicate that we may have found one such device: hearing aids.

Can hearing loss cause falls?

In order to figure out why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can raise your chance of having a fall? It appears as if the answer may be, yes.

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

There’s not exactly an intuitive link. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly influence your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are certain symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in an increased danger of falling. Here are a few of those symptoms:

  • Your situational awareness is impaired: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. Your situational awareness might be substantially affected, in other words. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, in a way yes, daily activities can become more dangerous 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.
  • Depression: Untreated hearing loss can result in social isolation and depression (not to mention an increased danger of dementia). You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anybody to help you.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is extremely important to your total equilibrium. So you may 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 often.
  • High-pitched sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can tell you’re in a huge space? Or how you can instantly detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. That’s because your ears are utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments 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 tired more often than not. An exhausted brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have seen.

Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you get older, you’re more likely to experience irreversible and advancing hearing loss. That will increase the probability of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious consequences.

How can hearing aids help reduce falls?

If hearing loss is part of the issue, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy. And this is being confirmed by new research. Your risk of falling could be lowered by up to 50% according to one study.

The connection between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this obvious. That’s to some extent because individuals frequently fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were having a fall. This was because individuals weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.

The method of this research was conducted differently and perhaps more accurately. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were segregated from people who used them all of the time.

So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased spatial awareness. In addition, many hearing aids include safety features created to trigger in the case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is essential for people older than 65).

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

Get your fall prevention devices today

Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and stay connected to everybody who’s important in your life.

They can also help prevent a fall!

If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule 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.


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