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Int J Med Sci. 2017 Apr 9;14(5):470-476. doi: 10.7150/ijms.18048. eCollection 2017.

Association between sarcopenia and hearing thresholds in postmenopausal women.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yeungnam University Hospital, Daegu, Republic of Korea.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Republic of Korea.


Background: Given the association between metabolic disturbance and sarcopenia, sarcopenia may be intrinsically associated with the prevalence of HL. However, few studies describe the association between sarcopenia and HL. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical association between sarcopenia and HL in postmenopausal Korean women. Patients and Methods: A total of 4,038 women were ultimately included in this study. All participants were postmenopausal. Participants were divided into two groups based on criteria from the Foundation for the National Institute of Health Sarcopenia Project: a normal group (sarcopenia index ≥ 0.512) and a sarcopenia group (sarcopenia index < 0.512). Low-frequency (Low-Freq), mid-frequency (Mid-Freq), and high-frequency (High-Freq) values were obtained. The average hearing threshold (AHT) was calculated as the pure tone average at the 4 frequencies of 0.5 kHz, 1 kHz, 2 kHz, and 3 kHz. Mild HL was as an AHT of 24 to 40 dB; moderate-to-profound HL was defined as an AHT of 40 dB or greater. Results: Of the 4,038 participants, 272 (6.7%) were allocated to the sarcopenia group, leaving 3,766 (93.3%) in the normal group. The groups differed significantly in terms of having hypertension (775 [20.6%] vs. 108 [39.7%]; P < 0.001) or metabolic syndrome (817 [21.7%] vs. 110 [40.4%]; P < 0.001) in the normal and sarcopenia groups, respectively. Visceral fat area (cm3) in the normal and sarcopenia groups was 99.0 ± 21.9 cm3 and 117.0 ± 21.8 cm3 , respectively (P < 0.001). The hsCRP level was higher in the sarcopenia group than in the normal group. For univariate and multivariate analyses, all 4 hearing thresholds were higher in the sarcopenia group than in the normal group. In addition, linear regression analyses showed Low-Freq, Mid-Freq, and High-Freq to be inversely correlated with the sarcopenia index. The unadjusted OR for mild HL was 2.692 (95% CI, 1.963-3.692; P < 0.001) in the sarcopenia group relative to the normal group, with an adjusted OR of 1.584 (95% CI, 1.131-2.217; P = 0.007). The unadjusted OR for moderate-to-profound HL in the sarcopenia group relative to the normal group was 6.246 (95% CI, 4.530-8.612; P < 0.001); the adjusted OR was 2.667 (95% CI, 1.866-3.812; P < 0.001). Conclusion: Sarcopenia may be associated with HL. It may be beneficial to perform screening audiometry in patients with sarcopenia.


Hearing loss; Hearing threshold.; Postmenopausal women; Sarcopenia

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