Health & Wellness

Your Hearing May Save You From a Fall

Researchers say the sounds you hear help you keep your balance

By Wendy Haaf


A hearing test could help reduce your risk for falls.

According to a study published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery, the sounds we hear play a role in maintaining balance. Moreover, the ability to hear sound is especially important when someone has another sensory problem, such as vision loss.

A team of US researchers reached this conclusion after conducting a comprehensive analysis of 28 medical articles in fields ranging from sound engineering to computer science. A consistent thread was that people had more difficulty standing still on an uneven surface in a quiet environment than they did while listening to sounds, and background noise was the most helpful type of sound for maintaining balance.

According to Speech-Language & Audiology Canada, hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic disability among older adults, and 20% of Canadians over 65 and 40% of those over 75 have a significant hearing problem.

Photo: iStock/mHeim3011.