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Ear Hear. 2014 Jan-Feb;35(1):56-62. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e3182a021c8.

Cochlear function among HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative men and women.

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1School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA; 2Epidemiology and Statistics Program, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD; 3Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; 4Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Georgetown University Medical Center, WA, District of Columbia; and 5Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.



There is limited research about cochlear function in adults who are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive (+). The aim of the present study was to collect measures of cochlear function in a large sample of adults with, or at risk for, HIV infection, to evaluate associations between HIV status, HIV treatment, and cochlear function.


Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) were used to evaluate cochlear function in 506 participants; 329 men, 150 of whom were HIV+, and 177 women, 136 of whom were HIV+. DPOAEs were measured at frequencies 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and 6000 Hz. A DPOAE nonresponse (NR) was defined as an absolute DPOAE level less than -15 dB SPL or a difference between the absolute DPOAE level and the background noise level less than 6 dB. The total number of NRs was calculated for each ear. The associations of demographic variables, HIV status, and HIV treatment with number of NRs were evaluated with univariate and multivariate ordinal regression models.


There was a statistically significant increase in the odds of higher numbers of NRs with age, being male, and being non-Black, but not with HIV status. Among HIV+ participants, there were no statistically significant associations of the HIV disease status or treatment variables with higher number of NRs.


The authors found no evidence of impaired cochlear function by HIV disease status or highly active antiretroviral therapy-treated HIV infection in this cross-sectional study.

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