Hearing in women at menopause. Prevalence of hearing loss, audiometric configuration and relation to hormone replacement therapy.
- Department of Audiology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may have a protective effect on hearing impairment in postmenopausal women. New guidelines for classification of audiometric configuration in age-related hearing loss are suggested.
To describe prevalence of hearing loss and audiometric configuration in a group of middle-aged women with respect to menopausal stage and HRT.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS:
A total of 143 women around menopause were sampled through the Swedish population register. The mean hearing threshold levels were compared according to menopausal status. The audiograms in the 57 women with hearing loss were classified according to audiometric configuration.
In all, 57 women (40%) had any kind of hearing loss; 42 had very minute hearing loss; 15 had a 4FA (average of thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz) of at least 20-39 dB HL in at least one ear. Two of these had a 4FA of 40-69 dB HL in at least one ear. The most common configurations were: gently sloping (47%), steeply sloping (14%), and high-frequency U-shaped (14%). The postmenopausal women who were not on HRT had poorer hearing mainly at 2 and 3 kHz, compared with pre- and perimenopausal women, and postmenopausal women on HRT.
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