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Low vitamin D status is associated with hearing loss in the elderly: a cross-sectional study

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Betsy Szeto, Chris Valentini, Anil K Lalwani



The elderly are at increased risk of both hearing loss (HL) and osteoporosis. Bone mineral density (BMD) has been putatively linked to HL. However, the roles of serum calcium concentrations and vitamin D status have yet to be elucidated.Objectives

The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between vitamin D status, parathyroid hormone (PTH), total calcium, BMD, and HL in a nationally representative sample of elderly adults.Methods

Using the NHANES (2005–2010), audiometry and BMD data of 1123 participants aged ≥70 y were analyzed in a cross-sectional manner. HL was defined as pure tone averages >25 dB HL at 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz (low frequency); 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz (speech frequency); and 3000, 4000, 6000, and 8000 Hz (high frequency) in either ear. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine the relation between HL and total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], PTH, total calcium, and BMD, adjusting for covariates.Results

In multivariable analyses, total 25(OH)D < 20 ng/mL was found to be associated with greater odds of low-frequency HL (OR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.28, 3.19) and speech-frequency HL (OR: 1.96; 95% CI: 1.12, 3.44). A 1-unit decrease in femoral neck BMD (OR: 4.55; 95% CI: 1.28, 16.67) and a 1-unit decrease in total spine BMD (OR: 6.25; 95% CI: 1.33, 33.33) were found to be associated with greater odds of low-frequency HL. Serum PTH and total calcium were not found to be associated with HL.Conclusions

In the elderly, low vitamin D status was associated with low-frequency and speech-frequency HL. Low vitamin D status may be a potential risk factor for age-related HL.

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