More evidence of possible link between hearing loss and CVD

HONOLULU, April 24 A new study shows an association between cardiovascular disease and age-related hearing loss particularly in women whove had a heart attack, researchers report today at the American Heart Associations Asia Pacific Scientific Forum.

These findings seem to support previous research that found a link between cardiovascular disease, its risk factors (such as cigarette smoking) and age-related hearing loss, says lead author Peter Torre III, Ph.D., post-doctoral fellow, department of population health sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School.

As part of the Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (EHLS) in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin a population-based study that investigated hearing loss in older people cochlear function was tested in about 1,600 study participants ages 52 to 97. Forty-one percent were male.

The cochlea is a spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear that contains inner and outer hair cells, the sensory cells responsible for hearing.

In addition to the cochlear function test, study participants answered interview questions about their history of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researchers controlled for age, gender and noise exposure on the job and during leisure activities.

They found that participants with a history of CVD were on average 54 percent more likely to have impaired cochlear function than adults without CVD. People who exercised at least once per week were on average 32 percent less likely than sedentary individuals to have impaired cochlear function.

Study participants with a history of heart attack were 80 percent more likely to have impaired cochlear function than those who had not had a heart attack. This was particularly evident in women, says Torre.

Women with a history of heart attack were 2.7 times more likely to have impaired cochlear function than women who had not reported a previous heart attack. However, a history of heart attack was not associated with cochlear f

Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association

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