A Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis study discovered that improving hearing enhanced the balance of older persons with hearing loss. Subjects who used hearing aids scored better on balancing tests when their hearing aids were switched on vs when they were turned off in the research.
The outcomes were related to more than just increased alertness, according to the study's author. Timothy Hullar, MD, an otolaryngology professor, proposed that, similar to how we use sight to identify where we are in space (and sway more when it's dark or our eyes are closed), we use sound as "auditory reference points or landmarks to assist maintain balance." Balance might deteriorate when this is jeopardized.
Following a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study that linked hearing loss to a threefold increase in the chance of falling, the findings imply that treating hearing loss with hearing aids can help lower the risk of falls in older adults.