Association of Midlife Hypertension with Late-Life Hearing Loss

Nicholas S. Reed, Matthew G. Huddle, Joshua Betz, Melinda C. Power, James S. Pankow, Rebecca Gottesman, A. Richey Sharrett, Thomas H. Mosley, Frank R. Lin, Jennifer A. Deal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the association of midlife hypertension with late-life hearing impairment. Study Design: Data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, an ongoing prospective longitudinal population-based study (baseline, 1987-1989). Setting: Washington County, Maryland, research field site. Subjects and Methods: Subjects included 248 community-dwelling men and women aged 67 to 89 years in 2013. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure were measured at each of 5 study visits from 1987-1989 to 2013. Hypertension was defined by elevated systolic or diastolic blood pressure or antihypertensive medication use. A 4-frequency (0.5-4 kHz) better-hearing ear pure tone average in decibels hearing loss (dB HL) was calculated from pure tone audiometry measured in 2013. A cutoff of 40 dB HL was used to indicate clinically significant moderate to severe hearing impairment. Hearing thresholds at 5 frequencies (0.5-8 kHz) were also considered separately. Results: Forty-seven participants (19%) had hypertension at baseline (1987-1989), as opposed to 183 (74%) in 2013. The SBP association with late-life pure tone average differed by the time of measurement, with SBP measured at earlier visits associated with poorer hearing; the difference in pure tone average per 10–mm Hg SBP measured was 1.43 dB HL (95% CI, 0.32-2.53) at baseline versus −0.43 dB HL (95% CI, −1.41 to 0.55) in 2013. Baseline hypertension was associated with higher thresholds (poorer hearing) at 4 frequencies (1, 2, 4, 8 kHz). Conclusion: Midlife SBP was associated with poorer hearing measured 25 years later. Further analysis into the longitudinal relationship between hypertension and hearing impairment is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)996-1003
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • epidemiology
  • hearing loss
  • hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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