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 pretty much every day. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s normal. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Also rather normal. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They bounce back pretty easily.

As you get older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a worry as you age. One reason for this is that bones are more brittle and heal slower when you’re older. Older people might have a harder time getting up after a tumble, so they spend more time in pain lying on the floor. Consequently, falls are the number one injury-related 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 might be just such a device according to research.

Can falls be caused by hearing loss

If you want to understand how hearing aids could potentially prevent a fall, you need to ask this related question: does hearing loss make you more likely to fall to begin with? In some cases, it seems that the answer is a strong affirmative.

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

That connection isn’t exactly intuitive. After all, hearing loss does not directly influence your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this type of direct impact on your ability to move around, and these symptoms can result in an increased danger of falling. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Depression: Social solitude and possibly even cognitive decline can be the outcome of untreated hearing loss. When you’re socially isolated, you might be more likely to spend time at home, where tripping dangers are everywhere, and be less likely to have help close at hand.
  • You have less situational awareness: When you have untreated hearing loss, you may not be as able to hear that approaching vehicle, or the barking dog beside you, or the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps. Your situational awareness may be significantly impacted, in other words. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy like this? Well, sort of, loss of situational awareness can make everyday tasks slightly more dangerous. And that means you could be a little bit more likely to unintentionally bump into something, and have a tumble.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance affected by hearing loss? Well, your inner ear is extremely significant to your overall equilibrium. So when hearing loss impacts your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have difficulty keeping your balance. Because of this, you could fall down more often.
  • You’re unable to hear high-frequency sounds: When you go into an arena, you know how even if you close your eyes, you can detect that you’re in a large space? Or when you jump into a car and you instantly know you’re in a small space? Your ears are actually utilizing something like “echolocation” and high-frequency sound to help your spatial awareness. When you can no longer hear high-pitch sounds due to hearing loss, you can’t make those judgments quite as quickly or easily. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
  • Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with neglected hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is often working overtime. This means your brain is worn out more often than not. An alert brain will notice and avoid obstacles, which will reduce the risk of having a fall.

Part of the link between hearing loss and falling is also in your age. You’re more likely to develop progressing and permanent hearing loss. That will increase the chance of falling. And when you’re older, falling can have much more severe consequences.

How can the danger of falling be reduced 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 borne that out. Your risk of falling could be reduced by up to 50% according to one study.

In the past, these figures (and the relationship between hearing aids and remaining upright) were a little fuzzier. That’s partly because individuals often fail to use their hearing aids. As a consequence, falls among “hearing aid users” were often inconclusive. This was because people weren’t wearing their hearing aids, not because their hearing aids were malfunctioning.

The approach of this study was conducted differently and maybe more precisely. Those who used their hearing aids frequently were classified into a different group than people who used them occasionally.

So how can you avoid falls by using hearing aids? They keep you less fatigued, more concentrated, and generally more alert. The added situational awareness also helped. Many hearing aids also come with 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 key here.

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

Hearing aids can help you reunite with your friends, enjoy quality moments with your family members, and remain in touch with everyone who’s significant in your life.

They can also help prevent a fall!

If you want to know 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.