KR ad AMK contributed to authorship equally.
The effect of hearing aids on postural stability
Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2014
© 2014 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.
Volume 125, Issue 3, pages 720–723, March 2015
How to Cite
Rumalla, K., Karim, A. M. and Hullar, T. E. (2015), The effect of hearing aids on postural stability. The Laryngoscope, 125: 720–723. doi: 10.1002/lary.24974
This study was supported by Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through grants UL1 TR000448 and TL1 TR000449. The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.
- Issue online: 18 FEB 2015
- Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 SEP 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 22 AUG 2014
In the United States, falls are the leading cause of accidental deaths in adults aged over 65 years. Epidemiologic studies indicate that there is a correlation between hearing loss and the risk of falling among older people. The vestibular, proprioceptive, and visual systems are known to contribute to postural stability, but the contribution of audition to maintaining balance has not yet been determined.
Cross-sectional study to measure postural stability in bilateral hearing-aid users aged over 65 years in aided and unaided conditions.
Balance was assessed using the Romberg on foam test and the tandem stance test. Tests were administered in the presence of a point-source broadband white-noise sound (0–4 kHz) source in both unaided and aided conditions in the dark. Subjective measures of balance were made using the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale.
Performance was significantly better in the aided than the unaided condition (P = 0.005 for both tests). No statistically significant relationship between improvement in balance, and hearing was identified. Participants did not report that they perceived a difference in balance between the two conditions.
These results indicate that hearing aids are a novel treatment modality for imbalance in older adults with hearing loss and suggest that wearing hearing aids may offer a significant public-health benefit for avoiding falls in this population.
Level of Evidence
4. Laryngoscope, 125:720–723, 2015