To evaluate the influence of auditory cues on postural sway in normal-hearing (NH) individuals, hearing-impaired individuals with vestibular impairment (HIVL), or hearing-impaired (HI) individuals without vestibular impairment.
Thirty-two participants received a hearing and a vestibular evaluation (vHIT, oVEMP, cVEMP) and then were separated in to three groups (NH, HI, HIVL). All participants had to stand on a force platform in four postural conditions (A: EO/firm, B: EC/firm, C: EO/Foam, D: EC/Foam) under two auditory conditions, with or without auditory cues.
Results revealed that first, there was a significant difference between HIVL and both HI and NH groups in conditions C and D without auditory cues. Second, greater improvement for HIVL compared to NH and HI groups in condition C and D was observed with auditory cues. Finally, somatosensory reliance significantly decreased for the HIVL participants using hearing aids compared to NH and HI.
Our results suggest that hearing aids benefit for postural control may be modulated by vestibular function.