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 tend to fall pretty much every day. Taking a spill on your bicycle? Not unusual. Stumbling over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also pretty normal. Kids are very limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for very long.

The same cannot be said as you get older. Falling becomes more and more of a concern as you age. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older individuals tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. Falling is the leading injury-related cause of death as a result.

It isn’t shocking, then, that healthcare professionals are always on the hunt for tools and devices that can reduce falls. New research appears to suggest that we may have determined one such device: hearing aids.

Can hearing loss bring about falls?

In order to determine why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a relevant question: is it feasible that hearing loss can increase your chance of falling? It seems 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 connection. 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 kind of direct effect on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can lead to a higher danger of falling. Here are some of those symptoms:

  • High-frequency sounds get lost: When you go into an arena, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can tell you’re in a large space? Or how you can instantly tell that you’re in a small space when you get into a vehicle. Your ears are actually utilizing something similar to “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to assist your spatial awareness. You will lose the ability to rapidly make those assessments when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-frequency tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
  • You have less situational awareness: You may not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the barking dog next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have neglected hearing loss. Your situational awareness may be significantly affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy in this way as a result of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make daily tasks slightly more hazardous. And that means you may be a little bit more likely to accidentally bump into something, and take a fall.
  • Loss of balance: How does hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your inner ear is very significant to your total equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you may 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.
  • Depression: Social isolation and possibly even cognitive decline can be the result of untreated hearing loss. You are likely to stay home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anybody to help you.
  • Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is tired more often than not. An alert brain will detect and avoid obstacles, which will reduce the likelihood of falling.

Age is also a consideration when it comes to hearing loss-related falls. You’re more likely to experience progressing and irreversible 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 danger of falling be lowered by using hearing aids?

It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution when hearing loss is the problem. And this is being validated by new research. One recent study found 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 clear. That’s partially because people frequently fail to use their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were frequently inconclusive. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.

But this new research took a different (and maybe more accurate) strategy. Those who used their hearing aids often were classified into a different group than people who used them occasionally.

So why does wearing your hearing aids help you prevent falls? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more vigilant. It doesn’t hurt that you have increased spatial awareness. Many hearing aids also include a feature that can notify the authorities and family members if a fall happens. Help will arrive faster this way.

Regularly using your hearing aids is the trick here.

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your family members, and stay in touch with everyone who’s significant in your life.

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

If you want to learn 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.