Study Title:

Components of Metabolic Syndrome as Risk Factors for Hearing Threshold Shifts

Study Abstract

Background: Hearing loss was a common, chronically disabling condition in the general population and had been associated with several inflammatory diseases. Metabolic syndrome, which was associated with insulin resistance and visceral obesity, was considered a chronic inflammatory disease. To date, few attempts had been made to establish a direct relationship between hearing loss and metabolic syndrome. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between metabolic syndrome and hearing loss by analyzing the data in the reports of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004.

Methods: This study included 2100 participants aged ≤ 65 years who enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2004). We examined the relationship between the presence of different features of metabolic syndrome in the participants and their pure-tone air-conduction hearing thresholds, including low-frequency and high-frequency thresholds.

Results: After adjusting for potential confounders, such as age, medical conditions, and smoking status, the participants with more components of metabolic syndrome were found to have higher hearing thresholds than those with fewer components of metabolic syndrome (p < 0.05 for a trend). The low-frequency hearing threshold was associated with individual components of metabolic syndrome, such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, and a low level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (p < 0.05 for all parameters).

Conclusions: The results indicated that the presence of a greater number of components of metabolic syndrome was significantly associated with the hearing threshold in the US adult population. Among the components of metabolic syndrome, the most apparent association was observed between low HDL and hearing loss.

Study Information

PLoS One . 2015 Aug 6;10(8):e0134388. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134388. eCollection 2015.

Full Study