Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Senior woman fell down and is sitting on carpet and touching forehead with hand

Kids have a tendency to fall pretty much every day. Taking a tumble on your bicycle? Not unusual. Getting tripped up when running across the yard. Happens all of the time. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They don’t usually stay down for very long.

As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes more and more of a worry as you grow older. In part, that’s because your bones generally break more easily (and heal more slowly). Older people tend to spend more time lying on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. Because of this, falls are the number one injury-connected cause of death in individuals older than 65.

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

Can hearing loss lead to 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 risk of falling? It seems as though the answer might be, yes.

So the question is, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?

That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss does not directly impact your ability to move or see. But this kind of direct impact on your mobility, and an increased risk of falling, can be a result of some hearing loss symptoms. Here are some of those symptoms:

  • Exhaustion: Your brain is working overtime and you’re always straining when you have untreated hearing loss. This means your brain is exhausted more frequently than not. An alert brain will notice and steer clear of obstacles, which will reduce the chance of having a fall.
  • Your situational awareness is impaired: 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 untreated hearing loss. Your situational awareness may be significantly affected, in other words. Can you become clumsy in this way due to hearing loss? Well, in a way yes, everyday tasks can become more dangerous if your situational awareness is jeopardized. And your risk of bumping into something and falling will be a little higher.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is very important to your total equilibrium. So you might find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects your inner ear. As a result of this, you could fall down more often.
  • High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you go into a concert hall, 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 a small space? That’s because your ears are using high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. When you’re unable to hear high-pitch sounds because of hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as rapidly or intuitively. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the outcome.
  • Depression: Social solitude and maybe even mental decline can be the outcome of neglected hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you may be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping dangers are everywhere, and be less likely to have help nearby.

Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. 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 the risk of falling be lowered by using hearing aids?

If hearing loss is part of the issue, it makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the solution. And new research has confirmed that. Your danger of falling could be decreased by as much as 50% based on one study.

In the past, these figures (and the connection between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a little bit less clear. Partly, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were having a fall. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were broken.

But this new study took a different (and maybe more accurate) approach. Individuals who wore their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than those who wore them intermittently.

So how can you prevent falls by wearing hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less tired. The increased situational awareness doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, many hearing aids include safety features created to activate in the case of a fall. This can mean you get assistance quicker (this is crucial for individuals older than 65).

Consistently wearing your hearing aids is the trick here.

Get your fall prevention devices today

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

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

If you want to know more about how hearing aids could help you, schedule an appointment with us today.

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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.
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