Hearing Aids Can Minimize the Danger of Falling

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

When you’re a kid, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s typical. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also fairly typical. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They rebound quite easily.

The same cannot be said as you age. The older you get, the more worrisome a fall can become. To some extent, that’s because your bones tend to break more easily (and heal slower). Older people tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a harder time getting back up. Falling is the leading injury-associated cause of death as a result.

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

Can hearing loss cause falls?

In order to figure out why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a related question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your chance of falling? In some instances, it appears that the answer is a definite affirmative.

So you have to ask yourself, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?

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

  • Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of neglected hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially separated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.
  • Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact 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. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more often.
  • 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 might be significantly impacted. Can you become clumsy in this way as a result of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make daily tasks a bit more dangerous. And your chance of bumping into something and falling will be a little higher.
  • Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously tired as a consequence. A weary brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an alert brain would have detected.
  • You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you instantly know that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? 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 help your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-frequency sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as quickly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.

Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-associated falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and irreversible hearing loss. That will increase the probability of falling. Consequently, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious repercussions.

How can the risk of falling be reduced 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 discovered that wearing 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 evident. That’s partially 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 weren’t working, it was because people weren’t wearing them.

But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) approach. Individuals who used their hearing aids now and then were separated from individuals who wore them all of the time.

So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more alert. It also helps that you have added spatial awareness. Additionally, many hearing aids have safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is crucial for people older than 65).

Consistently using your hearing aids is the key here.

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and remain connected to everyone who’s important in your life.

They can also help you stay on your feet, literally!

Schedule an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be enhanced.

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.