We use our vision to help us balance. If we walk outside and the path is uneven, we adjust our steps and our balance based on this visual information. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense that our hearing also may affect our balance?
According to a study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine, people who have hearing loss and who wear hearing aids appeared to have better balance than those with a hearing loss and no hearing aids. Participants seemed to be using the sound information from their hearing aids as auditory reference points or markers to help maintain their balance.
Another study that appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, conducted with clients aged 40 to 69 by Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, confirmed that hearing does contribute to balance. Even with a mild loss (25 decibels), people are nearly three times more likely to have a history of falls than people without a hearing loss. They were also able to determine that as the hearing decreased, the risk of falls increased.
Valerie Stroeder, BC-HIS
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences