Posted by: Dr. Linda Thibodeau, Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and the Callier Center for Communication Disorders
UT Dallas Callier Center researchers are recruiting patients for a new study aimed at determining a connection between hearing deficits and the likelihood of falls. The research project, a collaboration with the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, is evaluating how much hearing aids and other technologies might improve balance and prevent falls for people with auditory problems.
One-third of older adults fall each year, according to recent national studies. The resulting injuries can be life-threatening. Previous research on falls has focused on the roles played by visual, cognitive or motor impairments. But recent studies suggest that people with hearing loss also may be at greater risk of falling.
The study also will provide volunteer subjects with overall assessments of their hearing and balance systems. The auditory and vestibular testing and hearing aid fitting will take place at the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders. If a hearing loss is confirmed, the audiologist will perform a hearing aid evaluation and selection. The balance testing will happen in Fort Worth.
People with hearing loss will be equipped with bilateral hearing aids and FM systems for a six-week period. The study requires four to five visits, taking a total of 10 to 12 hours, scheduled over a period of six to eight weeks.