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

Kids have a tendency to fall on a daily basis. Wiping out on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up while running across the yard. Also rather normal. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are kind of limber. They rebound quite easily.

The same can’t be said as you age. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can be. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals may have a more difficult time getting up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Consequently, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals over 65.

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

Can falls be caused by hearing loss

If you want to understand 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? In some cases, it seems that the answer is a definite affirmative.

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

There isn’t exactly an intuitive association. After all, hearing loss doesn’t directly impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased risk of having a fall. Some of those symptoms include:

  • You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into a stadium, you know how even if your eyes are closed, you can detect that you’re in a large space? Or when you jump into a car and you immediately know you’re in close quarters? Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. This can cause disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • You have less situational awareness: When you have untreated hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the dog barking beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness could be substantially affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this due to hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make everyday tasks a bit more dangerous. And your chance of stumbling into something and having a fall will be slightly higher.
  • Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is often working overtime. 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 result, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have detected.
  • Depression: Untreated hearing loss can cause social isolation and depression (not to mention an increased risk of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you may be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers are everywhere, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
  • Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your general balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Because of this, you could fall down more often.

Part of the connection between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to develop irreversible and advancing hearing loss. That will raise the likelihood of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe repercussions.

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

If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution. And new research has confirmed that. One recent study found that wearing hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.

In the past, these figures (and the link between hearing aids and staying on your feet) were a bit fuzzier. That’s partly because people often fail to use their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were having a fall. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.

But this new research took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. Those who used their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than people who wore them intermittently.

So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? In general, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less fatigued. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, many hearing aids include safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance quicker (this is critical for people older than 65).

But the trick here is to make sure you’re wearing your hearing aids often 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 remain connected to everybody who’s important in your life.

They can also help prevent a fall!

Make an appointment with us right away if you want to find out more about how your quality of life can be improved.

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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.