Nav: Home

Postmenopausal hormone therapy associated with higher risk of hearing loss

May 10, 2017

Boston, MA -- Hearing loss afflicts approximately 48 million Americans and the number is expected to increase as the population ages. Some previous studies suggested that menopause may increase the risk for hearing loss, presumably due to the reduction in circulating estrogen levels, and that postmenopausal hormone therapy might slow hearing decline by 'replacing' estrogen. To investigate the role of menopause and postmenopausal hormone therapy as risk factors for hearing loss, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital prospectively examined the independent links between menopausal status, oral hormone therapy, and risk of self-reported hearing loss in 80,972 women in the Nurses' Health Study II followed from 1991-2013. The findings are published online May 10, 2017 in Menopause, The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

During the study period, 23 percent of the participants developed hearing loss. Researchers found no significant overall association between menopausal status and risk of hearing loss, although higher risk was associated with older age at natural menopause. Use of postmenopausal hormone therapy was associated with higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk tended to increase with longer duration of use.

"Many factors contribute to acquired hearing loss, including age, genetics, noise, medical conditions, diet and lifestyle factors," stated Sharon Curhan, MD, ScM, lead author of the paper and a researcher at the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Our research focuses on identifying preventable contributors to hearing loss. Although the role of sex hormones in hearing is complex and incompletely understood, these findings suggest that women who undergo natural menopause at an older age may have a higher risk. In addition, longer duration of postmenopausal hormone therapy use is associated with higher risk. These findings suggest that hearing health may be a consideration for women when evaluating the risks and benefits of hormone therapy," Curhan said.
-end-
The study was funded by grants DC 010811 and UM1 CA76726 from the National Institutes of Health.

Paper cited: Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM, et al. "Menopause and postmenopausal hormone therapy and risk of hearing loss," DOI: 10.1097/Menopause, Vol. 24, No. 9, 2017.

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 793-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare. BWH has more than 4.2 million annual patient visits and nearly 46,000 inpatient stays, is the largest birthing center in Massachusetts and employs nearly 16,000 people. The Brigham's medical preeminence dates back to 1832, and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in patient care, quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, and its dedication to research, innovation, community engagement and educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. Through investigation and discovery conducted at its Brigham Research Institute (BRI), BWH is an international leader in basic, clinical and translational research on human diseases, more than 3,000 researchers, including physician-investigators and renowned biomedical scientists and faculty supported by nearly $666 million in funding. For the last 25 years, BWH ranked second in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) among independent hospitals. BWH is also home to major landmark epidemiologic population studies, including the Nurses' and Physicians' Health Studies and the Women's Health Initiative as well as the TIMI Study Group, one of the premier cardiovascular clinical trials groups. For more information, resources and to follow us on social media, please visit BWH's online newsroom.

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Related Hearing Loss Articles:

Victorian child hearing-loss databank to go global
A unique databank that profiles children with hearing loss will help researchers globally understand why some children adapt and thrive, while others struggle.
Hearing loss, dementia risk in population of Taiwan
A population-based study using data from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan suggests hearing loss is associated with risk of dementia.
Mice reveal 38 new genes involved in hearing loss
Multiple new genes involved in hearing loss have been revealed in a large study of mouse mutants by researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, King's College London, and colleagues.
New contributor to age-related hearing loss identified
Researchers have discovered a new potential contributor to age-related hearing loss, a finding that could help doctors identify people at risk and better treat the condition.
Exploring the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline
A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital adds to a growing body of evidence that hearing loss is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline.
More Hearing Loss News and Hearing Loss Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...