For the first time, hearing aids and their contribution to delivering information to the brain have been shown to help improve a person's balance.
Researchers at St. Louis' Washington University School of Medicine analyzed a group of patients aged 65 to 91. They found that those who wore a live hearing aid in each ear performed better on standardized balance tests than those who wore un-activated hearing aids.
Senior study author Timothy E. Hullar, MD, said, "The participants appeared to be using the sound information coming through their hearing aids as auditory reference points or landmarks to help maintain balance."
The findings of this study further highlight the important role ears play in the body's balance system. Much of the control lies within the inner ear. Its delicate structures work together to maintain necessary fluid levels and communicate information to the brain.
The inner ear also contains the delicate hair cells that help transmit sounds to the brain. When they are damaged, due to overexposure to loud noise, illness, or trauma, permanent hearing loss can occur.
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