The University of Washington conducted research investigating hearing loss and its influence on balance. The study observed 14 hearing aid users during the “foam test”. During the test, participants were expected to stand with their feet together on a soft foam surface. Another test was conducted called the “tandem test” where participants were asked to place their dominant foot in front of their non-dominant foot and hold the position for a maximum of 30 seconds. Each test was conducted with the participant blindfolded (If a person were to take a step or move the timer was stopped). The experimenter then observed each participant with and without their hearing aids.
The results for this study concluded that 10 out of 14 participants performed better with the use of their hearing aids during the “foam test”. Similarly, during the “tandem test” participants were able to hold the position for 9.6 seconds if they wore their hearing aids whereas those without their hearing aids could only hold the position for 3.2 seconds. These results are very significant and indicate a strong correlation between hearing loss and instability. This experiment is very important as it provides support that wearing hearing aids does not only improve our ability to hear but may reduce instability problems.
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