To examine the association of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors with age-associated hearing loss, in a cohort of older black and white adults.
Cross-sectional cohort study
The Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study; A community-based cohort study of older adults from Pittsburgh, PA and Memphis TN.
2,049 well-functioning adults (mean age: 77.5 years; 37% black)
Pure-tone audiometry and history of clinical CVD were obtained at the 4th annual follow-up visit. Pure-tone averages in decibels reflecting low frequencies (250, 500, and 1000 Hz) middle frequencies (500, 1000, and 2000 Hz) and high frequencies (2000, 4000, and 8000Hz) were calculated for each ear. CVD risk factors, aortic pulse-wave velocity, and ankle-arm index were obtained at the study baseline.
In gender-stratified models, after adjustment for age, race, study site and occupational noise exposure, risk factors associated with poorer hearing sensitivity among men included higher triglyceride levels, higher resting heart rate and history of smoking. Among women, poorer hearing sensitivity was associated with higher BMI, higher resting heart rate, faster pulse-wave velocity, and low ankle-arm index.
Modifiable risk factors for CVD may play a role in the development of age-related hearing loss.