Background: Balance is a complex process involving the coordinated activities of multiple sensory, motor and biomechanical components. Balance function may be disturbed in subjects suffering from hearing loss but the impairment has been attributed to the pathology underlying the hearing loss. Aim: The purpose of the study was to investigate the possible interference of simulated conductive hearing loss with the ability to maintain postural balance. Methods: Twenty normal-hearing subjects, 20-30 years old, underwent the computerised dynamic posturography test battery before and after plugging their external ear canals with earplugs, thus simulating a 40dB conductive hearing loss. Results: Eighteen females and two males were tested before and after plugging their ear canals. Average CHL was 40 ± 4.9dB. The composite equilibrium score was significantly diminished after plugging the ears with an average sway score of 73.5% (P <.05, T = 2.27). The fourth test condition was specifically affected with an average sway score of 72.85% with earplugs (P <.05, T = 2.37). Conclusions: Conductive hearing loss has a negative effect on balance. This can be theoretically explained by the association between hearing loss and saccular dysfunction.
- conductive hearig loss
- postural balance