Progression of Hearing Loss in the Aging Population: Repeated Auditory Measurements in the Rotterdam Study


We quantified changes in the auditory acuity of 675 aging adults (mean age 71.1 years, 52.0% female, mean follow-up 4.4 years ± 0.2) of an ongoing cohort study with a pure-tone audiogram and a speech-in-noise test. Generalized estimating equation models were used to study the association between hearing loss and the progression with age, sex, education, cognition, BMI, blood pressure, having type 2 diabetes mellitus, cholesterol ratio, smoking and alcohol consumption. The mean progression of hearing loss was 0.29 and 1.35 dB/year (low and high frequencies). Progression of hearing loss was associated with baseline hearing thresholds. Besides, the presence of type 2 diabetes, smoking, age, sex and time were associated with worse hearing at baseline, but there was no statistical evidence that the tested determinants were associated with progression of hearing loss. This finding indicates that the 4-year progression of hearing loss in older adults in this study is not influenced by the measured determinants. More research with multiple follow-up rounds is desired.

In Audiology and Neurotology