Hearing sensitivity and the risk of incident falls and fracture in older women: the study of osteoporotic fractures.Ann Epidemiol 2004; 14(5):311-8AE
To determine if age-related hearing loss may be related to bone health. Decreased vestibular function has been associated with hearing loss. We hypothesized that hearing loss would be related to an increased risk of falling and osteoporotic fracture in 6480 women aged 65 years or older enrolled in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. We further hypothesized that decreased bone mineral density would be associated with hearing loss.
Hearing sensitivity was ascertained via screening audiometry, and was classified as normal, mild loss, or significant loss. Incident non-spine fractures and falls were ascertained every 4 months for an average 6.7 years and 3 years, respectively.
The age-adjusted annual fall rate did not differ significantly by hearing category, nor did the risk of incident fracture. Adjustment for confounding factors had no effect on our results. Age- and BMI-adjusted mean calcaneal bone mineral density (g/cm2) was 0.380 in the normal hearing group, 0.375 in the mild loss group, and 0.371 in the significant loss group (p = 0.02). There were no significant differences in total hip bone mineral density across hearing categories.
Our results do not support the hypothesis that hearing loss is a risk factor for fracture or falls [corrected]