Paper  |   June 2010
Association Between Cardiovascular Health and Hearing Function: Pure-Tone and Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emission Measures
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathleen M. Hutchinson
    Miami University, Oxford, OH
  • Helaine Alessio
    Miami University, Oxford, OH
  • Rachael R. Baiduc
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Contact author: Kathleen M. Hutchinson, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Miami University, 2 Bachelor Hall, Oxford, OH 45056. E-mail: hutchik@muohio.edu.
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders
Paper   |   June 2010
Association Between Cardiovascular Health and Hearing Function: Pure-Tone and Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emission Measures
American Journal of Audiology June 2010, Vol.19, 26-35. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2009/09-0009)
History: Accepted 21 Dec 2009 , Received 09 Apr 2009 , Revised 03 Jul 2009
American Journal of Audiology June 2010, Vol.19, 26-35. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2009/09-0009)
History: Accepted 21 Dec 2009 , Received 09 Apr 2009 , Revised 03 Jul 2009

Purpose: A reduction in hearing sensitivity is often considered to be a normal age-related change. Recent studies have revisited prior ways of thinking about sensory changes over time, uncovering health variables other than age that play a significant role in sensory changes.

Method: In this cross-sectional study, cardiovascular (CV) health, pure-tone thresholds at 1000 to 4000 Hz, and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), with and without contralateral noise, were measured in 101 participants age 10–78 years.

Results: Persons in the “old” age category (49–78 years) had worse pure-tone hearing sensitivity and DPOAEs than persons in the younger age categories (p < .05), affirming an age effect. Although hearing decline occurred in all persons in all CV fitness categories of every age group, those with low CV fitness in the old age group had significantly worse pure-tone hearing at 2000 and 4000 Hz (p <.05). Otoacoustic emission measurements were better for the old high-fit group but not significantly influenced by CV fitness level across age groups.

Conclusions: Results of the current study elucidate the potentially positive impact of CV health on hearing sensitivity over time. This finding was particularly robust among older adults.

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