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. Taking a spill on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up while running across the yard. Also pretty normal. It isn’t really a worry because, well, kids are quite limber. They don’t typically stay down for long.

As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. The older you get, the more concerning a fall can become. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal slower). Older individuals might have a harder time getting up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in people older than 65.

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

Can hearing loss cause falls?

If you want to understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this relevant question: is it feasible that hearing loss can increase your chance of falling? It looks as though the answer might be, yes.

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

There isn’t exactly an intuitive association. After all, hearing loss doesn’t 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 effect on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can result in an increased risk of having a fall. Here are some of those symptoms:

  • Exhaustion: Your brain is working extra hard and you’re always straining when you have neglected hearing loss. Your brain will be continuously exhausted as a result. An attentive brain will identify and avoid obstacles, which will lessen the chance of falling.
  • You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: You know how when you go into an auditorium, you immediately detect that you’re in a large venue, even if you close your eyes? Or when you get into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? That’s because your ears are using high-frequency sounds to help you “echolocate,” basically. When you’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those assessments quite as rapidly or intuitively. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
  • Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the outcome of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping dangers abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects the inner ear. As a result of this, you could fall down more often.
  • You have less situational awareness: When you have untreated hearing loss, you might not be as able to hear that oncoming vehicle, or the dog barking beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness could be significantly affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy like this as a result of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make daily activities a little more hazardous. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to accidentally stumble into something, and have a tumble.

Part of the link between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. You’re more likely to develop progressing and irreversible hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to take a tumble. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have severe repercussions.

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 new research has borne that out. Your danger of falling could be decreased by up to 50% according to one study.

The connection between staying on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this obvious. In part, that’s because not everyone uses their hearing aids all of the time. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This was because people weren’t using their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.

But this new study took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. People who used their hearing aids now and again were segregated from people who used them all of the time.

So how can you prevent falls by using hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more concentrated, and less exhausted. It also helps that you have increased spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also come with a feature that can alert the authorities and family members in case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance faster (this is critical for individuals 65 or older).

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

Invest in your fall prevention devices today

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

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

If you want to find out more about how hearing aids could help you, make an appointment with us right away.

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.