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Hearing Loss Frequent in Heart Failure Patients

Madeline R. Sterling, M.D., M.P.H., 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 HF using data from the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers found that participants with HF were older, had more cardiovascular comorbidities, and had a higher burden of hearing loss versus those without HF. Among individuals with HF, the prevalence of hearing loss was 74.4 percent versus 63.3 percent among those without HF. Participants with HF had higher odds of mild or greater hearing loss compared to those without HF (odds ratio, 1.67; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.02 to 2.72), although this association was not significant in a fully adjusted model (adjusted odds ratio, 1.65; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.87 to 3.17).

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