Article

Association Between Age-Related Hearing Loss and Stroke in an Older Population

Department of Ophthalmology, Westmead Millennium Institute and Australian Health Policy Institute, Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW, Australia.
Stroke (Impact Factor: 6.02). 02/2009; 40(4):1496-8. DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.535682
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Very few studies have investigated the association between hearing loss and stroke. A recent article in Stroke reported an increased incidence of stroke among patients with sudden hearing loss over a 5-year follow-up period. Our study aimed to explore this association among subjects with age-related hearing loss from a representative population. Further, we looked at the association between severity of hearing loss and risk of stroke in older persons, acknowledged as a limitation by the authors of the Stroke report.
The Blue Mountains Hearing Study is a population-based survey of age-related hearing loss conducted during 1997 to 1999 and 2002 to 2004, among participants of the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Pure-tone air conduction hearing thresholds from 0.25 to 8.0 kHz were measured by audiologists. Hearing loss was defined as the pure-tone average of frequencies 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 kHz >25 dB HL in the better ear.
Persons with moderate to severe hearing loss had a significantly higher likelihood of reporting previous stroke (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.20-3.49) after multivariable adjustment. However, moderate to severe hearing loss did not predict incident stroke after 5-year follow-up (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.59-2.23).
We observed a strong cross-sectional association between stroke and moderate to severe hearing loss. However, age-related hearing loss did not increase risk of incident stroke in our cohort. Insufficient study power or differing underlying pathologies of sudden sensorineural hearing loss and typical age-related hearing loss may account for the discrepant findings between these studies.

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