The Risk 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? That’s typical. Getting tripped up while running across the yard. Also rather normal. Kids are pretty 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 worrisome a fall can be. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal slower). Older people may have a harder time standing back up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.

That’s why tools and devices that can decrease falls are always being sought out by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.

Can falls be caused by hearing loss

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

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

There isn’t exactly an intuitive link. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But this type of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated danger of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects the inner ear. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more often.
  • Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is always working extra hard. This means your brain is exhausted more frequently than not. An exhausted brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have noticed.
  • Your situational awareness is impaired: When you have untreated hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that oncoming 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 like this because of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day tasks a little more dangerous. And that means you could be slightly more likely to unintentionally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
  • Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.
  • High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can detect that you’re in a large space? Or when you jump into a car and you immediately know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. When you can no longer hear high-frequency sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or easily. This can result in disorientation and loss of situational awareness.

Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-induced falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe consequences.

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

It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the issue. And this is being validated by new research. Your danger of falling could be lowered by up to 50% according to one study.

The connection between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. Partly, that’s because not everyone wears their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how often 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 approach of this study was carried out differently and perhaps more precisely. People who used their hearing aids now and again were separated from people who wore them all of the time.

So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less exhausted. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can notify the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will arrive quicker this way.

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

Invest in your fall prevention devices today

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 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.

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.