Hearing Aids Can Minimize the Risk of Falling

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

When you’re a youngster, falling is simply a part of life. Wiping out on your bicycle? That’s typical. Stumbling over your own feet when you’re running outside? Also fairly typical. It’s not really a worry because, well, kids are kind of limber. They don’t usually stay down for long.

As you grow older though, that becomes less and less true. Falling becomes much more of a worry as you get older. One reason for this is that bones break easier and heal slower when you’re older. Older people may have a more difficult time getting up after a fall, so they spend more time in pain on the floor. 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. Hearing aids could be just such a device according to research.

Can hearing loss lead to falls?

In order to determine why hearing aids can help prevent falls, it helps to ask a related question: is it possible that hearing loss can increase your chance of having a fall? It seems as if the answer may be, yes.

So the question is, why would the risk of falling be increased by hearing loss?

That association isn’t really that intuitive. Hearing loss doesn’t really, after all, impact your ability to move or see. But it turns out there are certain symptoms of hearing loss that do have this kind of direct effect on your ability to get around, and these symptoms can lead to an increased danger of falling. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Your situational awareness is impaired: 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. Your situational awareness could be significantly affected, in other words. Can loss of hearing make you clumsy in this way? Well, in a way yes, day-to-day activities can become more hazardous if your situational awareness is compromised. And that means you may be slightly more likely to unintentionally bump into something, and have a tumble.
  • Loss of balance: How can hearing loss impact your balance? Well, your overall balance depends heavily on your inner ear. So when hearing loss affects your inner ear, you might find yourself a little more likely to grow dizzy, experience vertigo, or have trouble keeping your balance. In other words, you have a tendency to fall more often.
  • High-frequency sounds get lost: You know how when you go into an auditorium, 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 utilizing high-pitched sounds to help you “echolocate,” more or less. You will lose the ability to quickly make those judgment calls when hearing loss causes you to lose those high-pitched tones. Loss of situational awareness and disorientation can be the result.
  • Exhaustion: When you’re dealing with untreated hearing loss, your ears are continuously straining, and your brain is often working overtime. This means your brain is tired more frequently than not. An exhausted brain is less likely to detect that obstacle in your path, and, as a consequence, you may end up tripping and falling over something that an attentive brain would have noticed.
  • Depression: Neglected hearing loss can lead to social solitude and depression (along with an increased risk of dementia). You are likely to be at home a lot more when you’re socially isolated, and tripping dangers will be all around without anyone to help you.

Age is also a factor when it comes to hearing loss-induced falls. As you age, you’re more likely to experience irreversible and advancing hearing loss. That will increase the probability of falling. As a result, when you get older, falls are more likely to have serious consequences.

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 discovered that wearing hearing aids could cut your chance of a fall in half.

In the past, these numbers (and the connection between hearing aids and remaining on your feet) were a little less clear. That’s to some extent because individuals often fail to wear their hearing aids. So it was inconclusive how often hearing aid users were having a fall. This wasn’t because the hearing aids weren’t working, it was because people weren’t using them.

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

So how can you avoid falls by wearing hearing aids? Generally speaking, they keep you more vigilant, more focused, and less tired. The increased situational awareness also helped. Additionally, many hearing aids have safety features designed to activate in the case of a fall. Help will arrive faster this way.

Regularly wearing your hearing aids is the trick here.

Prevent falls with new hearing aids

You will be able to remain close to your loved ones if you wear hearing aids, not to mention catch up with friends.

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

Make an appointment with us right away if you want to learn more about how your quality of life can be improved.

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.