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

When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Tripping over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also rather typical. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are kind of limber. They don’t typically stay down for long.

As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a concern as you get older. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals may have a harder time standing back up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals older than 65.

It isn’t shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for tools and devices that can decrease falls. New research appears to suggest that we may have discovered one such device: hearing aids.

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 relevant question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall in the first place? It looks as though the answer may be, yes.

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

That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, affect your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct effect on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to a higher risk of having a fall. Here are a few of those symptoms:

  • Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is worn out more frequently than not. An alert brain will identify and steer clear of obstacles, which will lessen the chance of having a fall.
  • Depression: Untreated hearing loss can result in social isolation and depression (along with an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you may be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you might find yourself a bit more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. Because of this, you could fall down more often.
  • You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can tell you’re in a large space? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to quickly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can result in disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • You have less situational awareness: When you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the barking dog beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly impacted. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day tasks can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you could be slightly more likely to accidentally bump into something, and have a tumble.

Age is also a consideration when it comes to hearing loss-induced falls. As you get older, you’re more likely to experience irreversible and progressive hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe consequences.

How can hearing aids help minimize falls?

It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being validated by new research. Your danger of falling could be lowered by as much as 50% based on one study.

In the past, these numbers (and the relationship between hearing aids and staying upright) were a bit fuzzier. That’s partly because individuals often fail to use their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were falling. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t using them.

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

So why does wearing your hearing aids help you avoid falls? They keep you less fatigued, more focused, and generally more alert. It doesn’t hurt that you have added spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can notify the authorities and family members if a fall happens. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is critical for individuals 65 or older).

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

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

You will be able to stay 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 right away if you want to know 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.
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