Results of the ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities)

In the journal JAMA Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery in January 2023, data from the ARIC prospective cohort study were published.  The study included 3594 patients from the USA (from 1987-1989).  At the first 4 visits, an ultrasound examination of the carotid arteries was performed with an assessment of the average thickness of the intima-media complex on both sides, and the presence of atherosclerotic plaques was also assessed at the 4th visit.  At the 6th visit in 2016-2018, audiometry was performed.
Among 3594 participants (mean age 59.4 years; 2146 [59.7%] women), an additional 0.1 mm increase in mean intima-media thickness was associated with a 0.59 dB increase in hearing threshold (95% CI, from  0.17 to 1.02 dB).  Compared with participants without carotid plaque, the presence of plaque was associated with a 0.63 dB higher hearing threshold (95% CI, −0.57 to 1.84 dB).
The presence of subclinical atherosclerosis in middle-aged individuals is associated with subsequent hearing loss in the elderly.  According to the findings of the study, the results of this study suggest that the prevention of early subclinical atherosclerosis will contribute to the preservation of hearing. 

Garcia Morales EE, Croll PH, Palta P, et al. Association of Carotid Atherosclerosis With Hearing Loss: A Cross-sectional Analysis of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online January 19, 2023. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2022.4651

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