Relationships among measures of physical activity and hearing in African Americans: The Jackson Heart Study

Patrick J. Haas, Charles E. Bishop, Yan Gao, Michael E. Griswold, John M. Schweinfurth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis: To evaluate the relationships among measures of physical activity and hearing in the Jackson Heart Study. Study Design: Prospective cohort study. Methods: We assessed hearing on 1,221 Jackson Heart Study participants who also had validated physical activity questionnaire data on file. Hearing thresholds were measured across frequency octaves from 250 to 8,000 Hz, and various frequency pure-tone averages (PTAs) were constructed, including PTA4 (average of 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 Hz), PTA-high (average of 4,000 and 8,000 Hz), PTA-mid (average of 1,000 and 2,000 Hz), and PTA-low (average of 250 and 500 Hz). Hearing loss was defined for pure tones and pure-tone averages as >25 dB HL in either ear and averaged between the ears. Associations between physical activity and hearing were estimated using linear regression, reporting changes in decibel hearing level, and logistic regression, reporting odds ratios (OR) of hearing loss. Results: Physical activity exhibited a statistically significant but small inverse relationship with PTA4, −0.20 dB HL per doubling of activity (95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.35, −0.04; P =.016), as well as with PTA-low and pure tones at 250, 2,000, and 4,000 Hz in adjusted models. Multivariable logistic regression modeling supported a decrease in the odds of high-frequency hearing loss among participants who reported at least some moderate weekly physical activity (PTA-high, OR: 0.69 [95% CI: 0.52, 0.92]; P =.011 and 4000 Hz, OR: 0.75 [95% CI: 0.57, 0.99]; P =.044). Conclusions: Our study provides further evidence that physical activity is related to better hearing; however, the clinical significance of this relationship cannot be estimated given the nature of the cross-sectional study design. Level of Evidence: 2b Laryngoscope, 126:2376–2381, 2016.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2376-2381
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cardio-metabolic
  • cardiovascular
  • exercise
  • hearing
  • obesity
  • physical activity
  • Presbycusis
  • pure-tone average
  • waist circumference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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