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 youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Happens every day. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are kind of limber. They don’t typically stay down for very long.

As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more worrisome 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 falling, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. 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 decrease falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.

Can falls be caused by hearing loss

In order to understand why hearing aids can help avert falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your risk of having a fall? It seems as if the answer might 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 see or move. But it turns out there are a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct effect on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can result in a higher danger of having a fall. Here are some of those symptoms:

  • High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, 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? That’s because your ears are using high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as quickly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? 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 affects your inner ear. As a result of this, you could fall down more frequently.
  • Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. Your brain will be constantly exhausted as a result. An exhausted brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have seen.
  • 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 oncoming vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. Your situational awareness may be substantially affected, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy like this? Well, in a way yes, everyday tasks can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And that means you could be slightly more likely to unintentionally bump into something, and have a tumble.
  • Depression: Social solitude and maybe even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.

Part of the link between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will increase the likelihood of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe consequences.

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

It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study found that using hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.

The link between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this clear. Partly, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This wasn’t because the hearing aids were malfunctioning, it was because people weren’t using them.

The method of this research was carried out differently and perhaps more effectively. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were segregated from individuals who wore them all of the time.

So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? In general, they keep you more alert, more concentrated, and less tired. It also helps that you have added spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. Help will arrive faster this way.

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

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

You will be able to stay close to your loved ones if you use hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.

They can also help prevent a fall!

If you want to learn more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us right away.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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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