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HEARING LOSS AND WALKING

ANCHOR LEAD:  PEOPLE WHO HAVE HEARING LOSS ALSO EXPERIENCE COMPROMISED WALKING, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Hearing loss results in decreased walking ability over time, a recent study in Geriatrics found.  Michelle Bellantoni, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, says the study gathered baseline data about both hearing and walking ability.

BELLANTONI:  Then when they followed them over time they found that in fact more than double the risk of very significant walking difficulties in those who had the baseline hearing impairment.  So what it says is okay, there’s a relationship between hearing loss and ability to walk and we now want to look at should be intervene in that hearing loss more aggressively to prevent walking difficulties that may occur in the next few years.                   :25

Bellantoni says that since declining ability to walk also predicts death, screening for hearing loss should probably be part of a general health assessment in an older person, and says all exams should begin with the physician watching the patient walk to the exam room.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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