The Effect of Hearing Aids on Balance
Kowalewski, Victoria DPT
MetadataShow full item record
Purpose: Older adults with hearing loss fall more often compared to older adults with normal hearing. Although some clinical balance outcome measures have been identified as potential assessment tools for older adults with hearing loss who are risk for falling, no study has assessed reactive balance outcome measures for older adults with hearing loss to determine fall risk. This study assessed whether number of steps during loss of balance, while simultaneously listening and responding to a standardized audiology test, could be a feasible reactive balance outcome measure to use to identify older adults with hearing loss who have balance deficits. Methods: 20 young adults, 20 older adults with normal hearing, and 20 older adults with hearing loss performed an auditory-balance dual-task of listening to a standardized audiology test, the BKB-SIN, while simultaneously responding to forward loss of balance requiring participants to take a step. Backward surface translations were provided on a treadmill at a slow and fast speed and randomized with the auditory sentences. Results: Results showed no significant difference between young adults, older adults with normal hearing, and older adults with hearing loss on balance or auditory scores. Conclusions: Further research needs to be performed to identify proper assessments and treatment interventions for older adults with hearing loss who have balance deficits.