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The association of obesity with hearing thresholds in women aged 18–40 years

Abstract

An elevation in hearing thresholds and decrease in hearing sensitivity in adults, particularly due to aging, are quite common. Recent studies have shown that, apart from aging, various other factors also play a role in auditory changes. Studies on the association of hearing loss (HL) with obesity are limited in advanced age cases and present contradictions. In this study, the association between obesity and hearing thresholds in women aged 18–40 years has been assessed. Forty women diagnosed with obesity (mean age, 31.8 years) and 40 healthy non-obese female controls (mean age, 30.5 years) were included in this prospective study. Each subject was tested with low (250, 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz) and high (4000, 6000 and 8000 Hz) frequency audiometry. In the case and control groups, the average hearing thresholds at low frequencies were 16.03 ± 4.72 and 16.15 ± 2.72 (p = 0.885) for the right ear, respectively, and 16.15 ± 5.92 and 14.71 ± 3.18 (p = 0.180) for the left ear, respectively. The average hearing threshold levels at high frequencies were 20.70 ± 10.23 and 15.33 ± 3.87 (p = 0.003), respectively, for the right ear, and 22.91 ± 15.54 and 15.87 ± 4.35 (p = 0.007), respectively, for the left ear with statistical significance. This is the first report on the association of obesity with hearing threshold in women aged 18–40 years. We have demonstrated that obesity may affect hearing function, particularly that related to high frequencies. Hearing loss can be prevented by avoidance or control of obesity and its risk factors. Moreover, an auditory screening of obese cases at an early stage may provide early diagnosis of HL and may also contribute to their awareness in the fight against obesity.

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Correspondence to Rıfkı Üçler.

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Üçler, R., Turan, M., Garça, F. et al. The association of obesity with hearing thresholds in women aged 18–40 years. Endocrine 52, 46–53 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12020-015-0755-y

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Keywords

  • Obesity
  • Audiometry
  • Hearing loss
  • Body mass index