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Hearing Loss Linked to Postural Instability in Older Adults

Findings seen for patients 40 years and older, even when hearing loss is only on one side

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MONDAY, April 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The odds of postural instability are increased in older adults with moderate or worse hearing loss, even when hearing loss is present on only one side, according to a study published online April 23 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Seung-Hwan Bang, M.D., from Korea University Medicine in Seoul, and colleagues used data from 3,864 participants (55.2 percent women; mean age, 57.8 years) in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2010 through 2012) to assess whether postural instability increases with the degree of hearing loss.

The researchers found that female sex was associated with higher odds of postural instability versus male sex (odds ratio [OR], 1.65, when adjusting for age and hearing status). The odds of postural instability increased with every one-year increase in age (OR, 1.13, when adjusting for sex and hearing status). There was no association of an increase in the odds of postural instability with unilateral or bilateral mild hearing loss. However, when adjusting for age and sex, moderate hearing loss on at least one side was associated with an increase in the odds of postural instability: unilateral moderate hearing loss (OR, 2.71), one mild and the other moderate hearing loss (OR, 2.18), and bilateral moderate hearing loss (OR, 2.34).

"It may be helpful to consider these findings when making recommendations or research on hearing rehabilitation to prevent postural instability," the authors write.

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