As we get older, falling is quite common. While most of the time falls don’t leave you with serious physical injuries, they can leave you feeling emotionally distressed. And if you’re struggling with balance issues and hearing loss on top of it, it’s understandable to be concerned.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself from falls in your everyday life. In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies to help you maintain your balance, confidence, and safety—even in the face of hearing loss and balance issues.
The Link Between Hearing Loss and Falling
Hearing loss is linked to the risk of falling for a couple reasons. When your hearing worsens, you become less aware of what’s happening around you. Every day, we hear a variety of background noises. And sometimes, we need to listen to them to figure out where we are spatially and avoid taking a fall.
When someone begins to lose their hearing, they may not be aware of all of the sounds around them. And without good spatial awareness, you’re more likely to miss a step, run into things, or lose your balance—which can cause a fall.
Also, your auditory system is closely connected to your vestibular system, which is responsible for maintaining balance. Hearing loss can disrupt the way these systems work together, and you may experience symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, and susceptibility to falling.
Understanding Your Unique Risk of Falls
Before we dive into some of the ways you can protect yourself from falls in your everyday life, it’s important to understand your individual risk factors. The below factors can play a role in your risk of a fall.
It’s important to have your hearing evaluated regularly. Don’t procrastinate with your hearing assessments. Addressing any issues with your hearing early on can have a positive impact on your overall balance.
Your overall physical fitness can play a role in your risk of falling. Exercises tailored to your level of fitness and physical ability can help you to build strength, flexibility, and balance. Consult with a physical therapist or fitness professional to determine which type of program best suits your needs.
If you’re struggling with balance issues, be sure to survey your home for potential hazards that could lead to a fall.
Strategies for Fall Prevention
In addition to helping you hear better, modern hearing aids are equipped with advanced features to enhance spatial awareness. Your audiologist will be able to help you optimize the settings on your hearing aids so that they align with your needs and preferences.
Keep moving to keep your muscles strong. Try to engage in physical activities that improve balance, like yoga or tai chi. These types of activities can not only strengthen your muscles, but also improve your balance. Plus, exercise has a positive impact on your mental health. So if you’re feeling out of sorts because of hearing loss or balance issues, gentle exercise may go a long way.
Practice mindful movement. Be present in the moment, and focus on each step you take. This conscious awareness will cause you to be more aware of your surroundings and will enhance your stability.
Check for things like poor lighting and loose rugs, and make sure that any stairs are well built and sturdy. If needed, you can install handrails or other assistive devices to help you get around in your home safely.
Commit to Regular Checkups
Schedule regular appointments with your audiologist and healthcare professionals. Regular checkups are paramount to your overall well-being. You’ll want to get an eye exam to make sure your vision is as good as it can be, since your vision helps you stay balanced, too.
And if you take any medications, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about whether dizziness is a potential side effect. Commit to taking care of both your hearing health and your overall health.
Empowering Yourself for Fall Prevention
Knowing that you’re at risk of falling can be scary. But arming yourself with the knowledge you need to mitigate the risk is empowering. Take note of the strategies above, and weave them into your day-to-day life routine. You’ll gain both confidence and equilibrium.
And don’t be afraid to lean on family members, friends, and healthcare professionals in your fall prevention efforts. Their support and encouragement can be invaluable as you navigate this path. Remember to stay steady, and continue moving forward.
If you have any questions that you think our team of hearing care professionals can answer, please reach out to us. We’re here to help. You can reach us at our:
We look forward to helping you on your journey!