Hearing Loss and Fall Risk

Hearing Loss and Fall Risk

Falls are a leading cause of injuries in older adults and pose a significant health risk. Falls can lead to a loss of independence and can negatively impact quality of life. Therefore, finding ways to prevent falls before they happen is vital to improving the health and longevity of our aging population.

Even mild hearing loss has been shown to triple the likelihood of falls when compared to peers with normal hearing. People with hearing loss often have challenges with environmental and spatial awareness which can lead to falls. Hearing loss can also be taxing on cognitive resources which can stress other body systems responsible for gait and balance. Managing hearing loss by utilizing hearing aids is a proven way to reduce the incidence of falls in older adults with hearing loss.

Hearing Aids with Fall Detection

The incidence of hearing loss and fall risk both tend to increase as people age. For this reason, Starkey Hearing Technologies released a hearing aid with built-in fall detection capabilities. Since hearing aids are worn on the head, these devices are less prone to mistaking normal daily activities for falls when compared to devices that are worn on other parts of the body, such as the wrist or neck. It is also more convenient for users to have a single devices that can help with multiple issues, rather than wearing separate devices for each.

Starkey Livio Edge AI 2400 Hearing Aids

Starkey Livio Edge AI 2400 hearing aids are the only hearing aids currently available with built-in fall detection. They utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) and built in 3D sensors to detect when a wearer falls. They then send alert messages to trusted family members or friends. This provides peace of mind for both the wearer and for their loved ones.

Starkey Livio Edge AI 2400 hearing aids are the top technology level available from Starkey. Aside from fall detection, they come with a multitude of other features that users may enjoy such as body and brain tracking, translation, and transcription.

How Does Starkey Fall Detection Work?

The user must have a compatible Smart Phone to use Fall Detection. The hearing aids must be connected to the Smart Phone, and the phone must have internet connection.

Fall Detection Works By:

  1. The user selects who they would like to receive a notification in the event of a fall using the Thrive Hearing app. They may choose up to three people to receive a notification.
  2. If the hearing aid detects a fall, the hearing aid will automatically send an alert to the chosen contact(s). The alert will include the GPS location of the hearing aid wearer.
  3. The trusted contact can then immediately call the wearer to check on them and get help if needed.

The wearer may also send a Manual Alert if needed. In the event an alert is initiated in error, the wearer may cancel the alert before a timer expires.

Mitigating and Managing Fall Risk

Ultimately, the goal is to prevent falls in older adults. Any appropriately programmed hearing aids can help to reduce the risk of falls by improving situational awareness. However, hearing loss is just one factor that can contribute to falls in the aging population. We had the opportunity to consult with Des Moines occupational therapist Dr. Sydney Moore about non-hearing related ways to mitigate and manage falls. Dr. Moore founded Happy at Home Consulting and provides in-home services to assist individuals to live safe, comfortable lives at home.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, the first in our Merit Community Health series for our complete interview with Dr. Moore!

The pieces we can control when it comes to falls include prevention and management. Falls can often be prevented with small changes at home.

Dr. Sydney Moore, ODT

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