Auditory Navigation in Bilateral Hearing Aid Users

dc.contributor.otherShayman, Coreyen
dc.contributor.otherLee, Rebeccaen
dc.contributor.otherHullar, Timothyen
dc.creatorChamseddin, Bahiren
dc.descriptionThe 55th Annual Medical Student Research Forum at UT Southwestern Medical Center (Monday, January 17, 2017, 2-5 p.m., D1.600)en
dc.description.abstractINTRODUCTION: Falling is a serious and common problem in the United States and is responsible for the most injuries, fatal and nonfatal, for Americans. Recent data implicates a link between those suffering from hearing loss and increased incidence of falls. Possible reasons include a coexisting reduction in cognitive capacity, reduced vestibular sense, and loss of auditory perception leading to decreased spatial awareness; however, none have been investigated during a walking balance test. This study investigates the ability of hearing aids to reduce veering, a walk that increases risk of falls, in the bilateral hearing aid population. METHODS: Healthy subjects (n=11) with no reported vestibular or auditory pathology and experienced bilateral hearing aid users (n=6) were blindfolded and instructed to walk 8m towards a speaker that emitted broadband white noise. Variables integrated a loud speaker, headphones, and no sound or bilaterally aided, unilaterally aided, and unaided in the healthy and pathologic populations, respectively. Recordings were taken for displacement from the speaker at the end of the runway and distance reached when subjects deviated within 1m from the intended walking path. Users also were instructed to walk normally or heel-to-toe. RESULTS: Using ANOVA analysis, healthy subjects significantly improved navigation during sound trials throughout both walking conditions (P= 0.005 for both tests). Bilateral hearing aid populations benefited from sound during narrow-based walking conditions (P= 0.06), yet during standard walking conditions the final displacement observed between aided and unaided trials were no different (P=0.85). Participants did not report a subjective improvement in balance with maximal sound cues. DISCUSSION: This study suggests that bilateral hearing aid population who do not have excellent familiarity with walking deprived of vision do not benefit from hearing aids to reduce veering during transient low-light conditions, such as getting up at night to use the restroom. The results also suggest differences in localization between normal walking and tandem walking which may have been attributed to sensory compensation, gait velocity, and attention required to keep balance. The reduction in veering with hearing aids in some cases may offer a public-health benefit through avoiding falls in this population. CONCLUSION: Auditory spatial awareness is responsible for the reduction in veering associated with imbalance. This study suggest that bilateral hearing aid population may benefit from hearing aids to walk during conditions in the absence of vision. Additionally, sound beacons can be used to benefit populations outside the blind.en
dc.description.sponsorshipSouthwestern Medical Foundationen
dc.identifier.citationChamseddin, B., Shayman, C., Lee, R., & Hullar, T. (2017, January 17). Auditory navigation in bilateral hearing aid users. Poster session presented at the 55th Annual Medical Student Research Forum, Dallas, TX. Retrieved from
dc.relation.ispartofseries55th Annual Medical Student Research Forumen
dc.subjectClinical Research and Case Reportsen
dc.subject.meshAccidental Fallsen
dc.subject.meshAuditory Perceptionen
dc.subject.meshHearing Aidsen
dc.subject.meshSpatial Navigationen
dc.titleAuditory Navigation in Bilateral Hearing Aid Usersen


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