The Risk 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 pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bike? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when sprinting across the yard. Happens every day. Kids are pretty limber so, no big deal. They rebound pretty easily.

The same can’t be said as you get older. Falling becomes more and more of a worry as you get older. 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 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 out by healthcare professionals. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.

Can hearing loss lead to falls?

If you want to know how hearing aids could possibly prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your chance of having a fall? In some instances, it appears that the answer is a definite yes.

So the question is, why would the risk of falling be increased by hearing loss?

That association isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss does not directly impact your ability to move or see. 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 falling. Some of those symptoms include:

  • You have less situational awareness: You may not be capable of hearing the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an approaching vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. Your situational awareness may be substantially affected, in other words. Can hearing loss make you clumsy like this? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day tasks a little more dangerous. And that means you may be a little bit more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and take a fall.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your general balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss impacts your inner ear. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more often.
  • Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is always working overtime. Your brain will be continuously tired as a result. A tired brain is less likely to see that obstacle in your path, and, as a result, you may wind up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have seen.
  • You can’t hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you walk into a concert hall, you instantly detect that you’re in a spacious venue, even if your eyes are closed? Or how you can instantly detect that you’re in a small space when you get into a car. Your ears are actually utilizing something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as quickly or intuitively. This can lead to disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • Depression: Untreated hearing loss can result in social solitude and depression (along with an increased danger of dementia). When you’re socially isolated, you might be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping hazards are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.

Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-associated falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and permanent hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious consequences.

How can hearing aids help reduce falls?

If hearing loss is part of the problem, it makes sense that hearing aids should be part of the solution. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study discovered that using hearing aids could cut your risk of a fall in half.

The relationship between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. In part, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. As a result, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. 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) strategy. Individuals who wore their hearing aids now and again were segregated from individuals who used them all of the time.

So why does using your hearing aids help you avoid falls? Generally speaking, they keep you more alert, more concentrated, and less fatigued. The increased situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can alert the authorities and family members if a fall happens. Help will arrive faster this way.

Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the key here.

Get your fall prevention devices today

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

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

Schedule an appointment with us today if you want to find out 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.