HealthDay News — Nearly three-quarters of patients aged 70 years or older with heart failure have hearing loss, according to a research letter published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Madeline R. Sterling, MD, MPH, from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues examined the prevalence and correlates of hearing loss among adults aged 70 or older with and without heart failure using data from the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers found that participants with heart failure were older, had more cardiovascular comorbidities, and had a higher burden of hearing loss vs those without heart failure. 

Among individuals with heart failure, the prevalence of hearing loss was 74.4% vs 63.3% among those without heart failure. Participants with heart failure had higher odds of mild or greater hearing loss compared to those without heart failure (odds ratio, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.02 to 2.72), although this association was not significant in a fully adjusted model (adjusted odds ratio, 1.65; 95% CI, 0.87 to 3.17).

“Although hearing loss was more common among adults with heart failure compared with those without it, heart failure was not independently associated with hearing loss after accounting for demographic and clinical characteristics,” the authors wrote. “Future studies might examine potential correlates of hearing loss that we were unable to study, including ejection fraction and heart failure-specific medications like furosemide, which has ototoxic properties.”

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Sterling MR, Lin FR, Jannat-Khah DP, et al. Hearing loss among older adults with heart failure in the United States [published online January 25, 2018.] JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2017.2979