Hearing loss among HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative men and women

Peter Torre, Howard J. Hoffman, Gayle Springer, Christopher Cox, Mary A. Young, Joseph B. Margolick, Michael Plankey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: Age-related hearing loss affects quality of life. Data on hearing loss among aging human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive (HIV+) adults are limited. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate pure-tone hearing thresholds among HIV+ and HIV-seronegative (HIV-) adults and to determine whether HIV disease variables and antiretroviral therapy are associated with pure-tone threshold levels. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A total of 262 men (117 HIV+) from the Baltimore, Maryland/Washington, DC, site of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study and 134 women (105 HIV+) from theWashington, DC, site of theWomen's Interagency HIV Study participated. Pure-tone air conduction thresholds were collected in a sound-treated room for each ear at frequencies from 250 through 8000 Hz. Linear mixed regression models tested the effect of HIV on hearing after adjustment for age, sex, race, and noise exposure history. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Low-frequency pure-tone average (LPTA) at 250, 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz and high-frequency PTA (HPTA) at 3000, 4000, 6000, and 8000 Hz. Differential HIV effects for LPTA and HPTA and better/worse ear were also examined. CD4+and CD8+ T-cell counts, log10 plasma HIV RNA concentrations, receipt of AIDS diagnosis, and cumulative duration of antiretroviral therapy were included in the models for HIV+ participants only. RESULTS: HPTA and LPTA were significantly higher (18%: estimated ratio, 1.18 [95%CI, 1.02-1.36]; P =.02; and 12%: estimated ratio, 1.12 [95%CI, 1.00-1.26]; P =.05, respectively) for HIV+ participants compared with HIV- participants for the better ear. The direction of the effect was consistent across both the better and worse ears. There were no significant associations between HIV disease variables or treatment variables and LPTA or HPTA. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The HIV+ adults had significantly poorer lower-frequency and higher-frequency hearing than HIV- adults. High-frequency hearing loss is consistent with an accelerated aging (presbycusis); low-frequency hearing loss in middle age is unexpected. Because some vowels and consonants have predominantly low-frequency acoustic energy, poor low-frequency hearingmay impair communication in HIV+ individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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