The Impact of Altered Visual Input and Auditory Stimulations on Balance and Postural Stability

Nathan Norris

Abstract


Impaired vision tends to increase the risk of falling since visual feedback is a key component in helping maintain balance and posture. However, sport training programs that rely on sensory input other than vision have been shown to improve a person’s balance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of visual and auditory inputs on balance and postural stability.  To test this, the excursions (sway) of 30 participants in four different visual conditions were measured by using a Wii Balance Board. The four visual conditions consisted of eyes open, eyes closed, a moving dot with no sound, and a moving dot with sound. During the two moving dot conditions, the participants wore a pair of IKKOS goggles that displayed the dot and emitted an auditory clicking sound. Mediolateral, anterior-posterior, and total excursions were measured during testing.  A one-way ANOVA was used to determine differences in excursion between the four conditions. There were significant differences between groups for the mean anterior-posterior (p < .001) and mean total excursions (p < .001), but not for mean mediolateral excursions (p = .469). The smallest excursions occurred during the eyes open condition (p < .05); therefore this was the most stable condition. The largest excursions were measured during the eyes closed condition. The IKKOS goggles conditions, in which vision was reduced, resulted in smaller excursions than the eyes closed condition. Based on the results, we believe that training programs with the IKKOS goggles can be developed that will help individuals with reduced vision maintain or increase balance and posture by relying more on auditory stimulation and proprioception.


Keywords


altered; stimulations; stability

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