No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article1 Apr 2005

The Association Between Cardiovascular Disease and Cochlear Function in Older Adults

    The purpose of this research was to evaluate the relation between self-reported cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cochlear function in older adults. The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (EHLS) is an ongoing population-based study of hearing loss and its risk factors in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. As part of the EHLS questionnaire, participants were asked about their cardiovascular medical history. CVD history was determined from questions regarding history of angina, myocardial infarction (MI), and stroke. Questions about the use of antihypertensive medication and blood pressure measurements determined the presence or absence of hypertension. Among the audiologic measures completed were distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs). Cochlear function was measured using DPOAEs and participants were categorized as having (a) cochlear impairment, (b) possible cochlear impairment, or (c) no cochlear impairment. There were 1,501 participants with complete CVD and DPOAE data from the 1998–2000 examination phase. Women with a self-reported history of MI were twice as likely (age-adjusted odds ratio [OR]=2.00, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.15–3.46) to have cochlear impairment than women without a history of MI. This association was not significant in men (age-adjusted OR=0.98, 95% CI=0.61–1.58). Additionally, no other CVD variables were associated with cochlear impairment. This study provides data on a possible sex-specific association between CVD and DPOAEs in older adults.


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