The Danger 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 just a part of life. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Happens all of the time. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They don’t typically stay down for long.

As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. 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 more slowly). Older individuals might have a more difficult time standing back up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.

That’s why tools and devices that can reduce falls are always being sought after by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids might be just such a device according to research.

Can falls be caused by hearing loss

If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: is it feasible that hearing loss can raise your risk of falling? In some situations, it seems that the answer is a definite affirmative.

So why does hearing loss increase the risk 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 a few symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased risk of falling. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with neglected hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is always working extra hard. Your brain will be continuously tired as a consequence. A tired brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have noticed.
  • You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you instantly detect that you’re in a huge venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in close quarters? That’s because your ears are using high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to quickly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. This can lead to disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • Depression: Social solitude and possibly even mental decline can be the consequence of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help nearby.
  • Loss of balance: How can hearing loss effect your balance? Well, your inner ear is incredibly important to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you may find yourself a bit more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. As a result of this, you may fall down more frequently.
  • Your situational awareness is impaired: You might not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness might be substantially affected. Can hearing loss make you clumsy in this way? Well, in a way yes, daily tasks can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And that means you could be a little bit more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and have a tumble.

Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. You’re more likely to develop progressing and permanent hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe repercussions.

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

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

The relationship between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this clear. In part, that’s because not everybody uses 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 weren’t working, it was because individuals weren’t wearing them.

But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) approach. Those who used their hearing aids often were put in a different group than people who wore them intermittently.

So why does using your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less exhausted, more focused, and generally more vigilant. The added situational awareness also helped. In addition, many hearing aids include safety features designed to trigger in the case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is essential for individuals older than 65).

Consistently using your hearing aids is the trick here.

Invest in your fall prevention devices today

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

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

Make an appointment with us right away if you want to know 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.