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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? Not unusual. Getting tripped up while sprinting across the yard. Also rather typical. It isn’t really a concern because, well, kids are pretty limber. They don’t usually stay down for long.

The same cannot be said as you age. 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 people may have a harder time getting up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in people over 65.

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 hearing loss bring about falls?

In order to determine why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? It looks as though the answer may be, yes.

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

That connection isn’t really that intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an elevated risk of falling, can be a consequence of some hearing loss symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the outcome of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.
  • Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. 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 frequently.
  • You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you go into a concert hall, you immediately know that you’re in a huge venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you get into a car and you immediately know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are utilizing high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can bring about 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 exhausted more frequently than not. A weary 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 alert brain would have detected.
  • 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. Your situational awareness might be substantially affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this because of hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, everyday activities can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and take a tumble.

Age is also a consideration with regard to hearing loss-associated falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will increase the chance of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious consequences.

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

It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the problem. And new research has borne that out. Your danger of falling could be lowered by up to 50% based on one study.

The connection between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this obvious. That’s partially because individuals often fail to wear their hearing aids. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.

The approach of this research was conducted differently and perhaps more effectively. Those who wore their hearing aids often were classified into a different group than people who wore them intermittently.

So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have added situational awareness. In addition, many hearing aids come with safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get help quicker (this is critical for individuals older than 65).

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

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

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

They can also help prevent a fall!

Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.

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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.