Louisville Family Audiology - Louisville, KY

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

When you’re a kid, falling is simply a part of life. Taking a spill on your bicycle? That’s normal. Stumbling over your own feet while you’re running outside? Happens all of the time. Kids are quite limber so, no big deal. They rebound pretty easily.

The same cannot be said as you age. Falling becomes much 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 tend to spend more time on the floor in pain because they have a more difficult time getting back up. As a result, falls are the number one injury-related cause of death in individuals over 65.

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

Can falls be caused by hearing loss

If you want to know 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 if the answer might be, yes.

So you have to ask yourself, why would the danger of falling be raised by hearing loss?

That link isn’t exactly intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are some symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct impact on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can lead to a higher risk of falling. Here are a few of those symptoms:

  • High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you walk into an auditorium, you immediately detect that you’re in a spacious venue, even if you close your eyes? 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 help 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 cause disorientation and loss of situational awareness.
  • You have less situational awareness: You might not be able to hear the sound of your neighbor’s footsteps, the dog barking next door, or an oncoming vehicle when you have untreated hearing loss. In other words, your situational awareness may be significantly impacted. Can you become clumsy like this as a result of hearing loss? Well, kind of, loss of situational awareness can make day-to-day activities a bit more hazardous. And that means you might be a little bit more likely to unintentionally stumble into something, and have a tumble.
  • Loss of balance: How is your balance impacted by hearing loss? Well, your overall balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So you may find yourself dizzy, experience vertigo, and lose your balance when hearing loss affects your inner ear. As a result of this, you may fall down more frequently.
  • Exhaustion: When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears are always straining, and your brain is always working overtime. Your brain will be continuously tired as a result. An attentive brain will detect and avoid obstacles, which will reduce the likelihood of falling.
  • Depression: Neglected hearing loss can result in social solitude and depression (and also an increased danger of dementia). When you’re socially separated, you might be more likely to stay at home, where tripping hazards abound, and be less likely to have help close at hand.

Part of the link between falling and hearing loss is also in your age. As you get older, you’re more likely to experience permanent and progressive hearing loss. At the same time, you’re more likely to have a fall. And when you’re older, falling can have much more serious consequences.

How can hearing aids help decrease falls?

It makes sense that hearing aids would be part of the remedy when hearing loss is the issue. And new research has borne that out. Your risk of falling could be reduced by up to 50% based on one study.

The connection between remaining on your feet and hearing loss wasn’t always this evident. Partly, that’s because not everybody wears their hearing aids all of the time. So it was inconclusive how frequently hearing aid users were falling. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because individuals weren’t using them.

But this new study took a different (and perhaps more accurate) approach. Those who wore their hearing aids often were classified into a different group than those who used them occasionally.

So why does wearing your hearing aids help you avoid falls? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less exhausted. The increased situational awareness also helped. In addition, many hearing aids come with safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. Help will come faster this way.

Regularly using your hearing aids is the key here.

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

Hearing aids can help you catch up with your friends, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and remain in touch with everyone who’s important in your life.

They can also help prevent a fall!

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

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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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