This study was aimed at assessing whether hearing decline correlates with menopause and/or cortisol blood levels.
A prospective individual longitudinal study of perimenopausal women followed for 10 years was performed at baseline, and after 2, 7 and 10 years, respectively. With a starting age of around 51 years, 100 women remained in the study after 10 years.
Pure-tone audiometry and cortisol blood testing were performed at all visits. A continuous hearing decline, at all frequencies, was found during the follow-up time.
The rate of decline during the menopausal period was higher than compared with reference materials for the same age group.
The correlation with time for menopause is most apparent at 1 and 3 kHz where the hearing decline is more rapid after menopause than before. Serum cortisol levels did not correlate with rate of hearing decline.
In conclusion, an unexpected rapid hearing decline remained after the 10-year follow up, similar to the hearing decline in 70-year-old women in reference materials. No clear changes concerning hearing in the peri- and postmenopausal period were noted.
Svedbrant J, Bark R, Hultcrantz M, Hederstierna C. Hearing decline in menopausal women – a 10-year follow-up. Acta Otolaryngol 2015 Apr 11. Epub ahead of print