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Association of inflammatory markers with hearing impairment: The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

Lassale, Camille; Vullo, Pierluigi; Cadar, Dorina; Batty, G David; Steptoe, Andrew; Zaninotto, Paola.
Brain Behav Immun ; 83: 112-119, 2020 Jan.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31562886


Hearing impairment is common at an older age and has considerable social, health and economic implications. With an increase in the ageing population, there is a need to identify modifiable risk factors for hearing impairment. A shared aetiology with cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been advanced as CVD risk factors (e.g. obesity, type 2 diabetes) are associated with a greater risk of hearing impairment. Moreover, low-grade inflammation is implicated in the aetiology of CVD. Accordingly, our aim was to investigate the association between several markers of inflammation - C-reactive protein, fibrinogen and white blood cell count - and hearing impairment.


Participants of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing aged 50-93 were included. Inflammatory marker data from both wave 4 (baseline, 2008/09) and wave 6 (2012/13) were averaged to measure systemic inflammation. Hearing acuity was measured with a simple handheld tone-producing device at follow-up (2014/15).


Among 4879 participants with a median age of 63 years at baseline, 1878 (38.4%) people presented hearing impairment at follow-up. All three biomarkers were positively and linearly associated with hearing impairment independent of age and sex. After further adjustment for covariates, including cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, physical activity, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol), memory and depression, only the association with white blood cell count remained significant odds ratio per log-unit increase; 95% confidence interval = 1.46; 1.11, 1.93.


While white blood cell count was positively associated with hearing impairment in older adults, no relationships were found for two other markers of low-grade inflammation.