Hormone replacement therapy and hearing loss


hearing loss and menopause
© Viktor Kuryan - Fotolia.com

A new study recently published in the journal Menopause reports evidence that older age at menopause and longer duration of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are associated with a higher risk of hearing loss.

Traditionally, it was thought that because women’s natural hormone levels decrease after menopause, HRT might help to protect against age-related hearing loss. The results of this new prospective study, carried out by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA call this idea into question.

The researchers carried out a prospective cohort study among nearly 81,000 women in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Nurses’ Health Study II, with a baseline age of 27 to 44 years, followed up from 1991 to 2013. Statistical regression models were used to examine independent associations between menopausal status and postmenopausal HRT, and risk of hearing loss.

The results showed over 18,000 cases of hearing loss in the studied patient group. The authors found no significant overall association between menopausal status, natural or surgical, and risk of hearing loss. However, older age at natural menopause was associated with higher risk (multivariable-adjusted relative risk of 1.10). In addition, among postmenopausal women, oral HRT and longer duration of use were associated with a higher risk of hearing loss.

Source: Health; Curhan SG, et al. Menopause and postmenopausal hormone therapy and risk of hearing loss. Menopause. 2017 May 8.