Subclinical atherosclerosis and increased risk of hearing impairment.

Cruickshanks Lab // Kleins Lab // Publications // Feb 01 2015

PubMed ID: 25555266

Author(s): Fischer ME, Schubert CR, Nondahl DM, Dalton DS, Huang GH, Keating BJ, Klein BE, Klein R, Tweed TS, Cruickshanks KJ. Subclinical atherosclerosis and increased risk of hearing impairment. Atherosclerosis. 2015 Feb;238(2):344-9. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.12.031. Epub 2014 Dec 20. PMID 25555266

Journal: Atherosclerosis, Volume 238, Issue 2, Feb 2015

OBJECTIVE The study’s purpose was to test if subclinical atherosclerosis was associated with the risk of developing HI in a large cohort of middle-aged participants.

METHODS Study subjects were members of the Beaver Dam Offspring Study (BOSS), a longitudinal study of adult children of participants in the population-based Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (1993-present). BOSS examinations took place in 2005-2008 (baseline) and 2010-2013 (5-year follow-up). The 5-year incidence of hearing impairment was defined as a pure-tone average (PTA) of thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz > 25 dB Hearing Level (dB HL) in either ear at follow-up among participants at risk (baseline PTA in both ears < = 25 dB HL; n = 2436, mean age = 47.7 years). Atherosclerosis was measured as the mean carotid intima-media thickness and the presence of carotid artery plaque.

RESULTS Among the 1984 participants at-risk with a follow-up audiometric examination, the 5-year incidence of hearing impairment was 8.3% (95% Confidence Interval (C.I.) 7.1, 9.5). With multivariable adjustment, carotid intima-media thickness was positively associated with hearing impairment incidence (Relative Risk (RR) = 1.14 per 0.1 mm, 95% C.I. 1.04, 1.24). The number of sites (0-6) with plaque was also positively associated with the incidence of impairment (RR = 1.16 per site, 95% C.I. 1.01, 1.32).

CONCLUSION Atherosclerosis was associated with the 5-year incidence of hearing impairment in this predominantly middle-aged cohort. Interventions targeting atherosclerosis prevention may help to prevent or delay the onset of hearing impairment.

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