The Danger of Falls and How Hearing Aids Can Help

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. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Happens every day. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for long.

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

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

Can hearing loss bring about falls?

If you want to fully grasp how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: does hearing loss make a fall more likely in the first place? In some instances, it seems that the answer is a strong affirmative.

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

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

  • Depression: Neglected hearing loss can result in social isolation and depression (along with an increased risk of dementia). You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping hazards will be all around without anyone to help you.
  • High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you go into an auditorium, you instantly know that you’re in a large venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are utilizing high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. You will lose the ability to quickly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. This can bring about disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are constantly straining, and your brain is often working extra hard. This means your brain is worn out more frequently than not. A tired brain is less likely to notice that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you might wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have noticed.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty maintaining your balance. Essentially, you have a tendency to fall more frequently.
  • Your situational awareness is impaired: You might not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness might be significantly affected. Can you become clumsy like this due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, daily tasks can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And your risk of bumping into something and falling will be a little higher.

Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-associated falls. As you grow older, you’re more likely to develop permanent and progressive hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe consequences.

How can the danger of falling be decreased by using hearing aids?

It seems logical that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And new research has borne that out. Your danger of falling could be decreased by as much as 50% according to one study.

In the past, these figures (and the relationship between hearing aids and staying upright) were a bit less clear. That’s to some extent because individuals often fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were falling. This was because individuals weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.

But this new study took a different (and perhaps more accurate) strategy. People who wore their hearing aids frequently were put in a different group than people who used them intermittently.

So how can you prevent falls by wearing hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less tired. The added situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members if a fall happens. This can mean you get help faster (this is critical for individuals older than 65).

But the trick here is to make sure you’re wearing your hearing aids frequently and consistently.

Invest in your fall prevention devices today

Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your loved ones, and remain in touch with everyone who’s significant in your life.

They can also help prevent a fall!

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

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.

Questions? Talk To Us.