Later menopause and long-term use of hormone therapy linked to higher risk of hearing loss

Hearing loss risk is higher in women who go through the menopause after 50 years of age and take hormone therapy for five years or more.

Older woman applying hormone replacement therapy patch

Reduced oestrogen levels post-menopause have been associated with hearing loss and postmenopausal hormone therapy, (HT) with slow hearing decline, but findings from a new study suggest otherwise.

A prospective cohort study, published in Menopause
[1]
(8 May 2017), followed 80,972 women (baseline age: 27–44 years) for 22 years.

Hearing loss was reported in 18,558 cases. For women who underwent natural menopause aged 50 or older, hearing loss risk was 10% higher than for those who were under 50 (multivariable-adjusted relative risk [MVRR] 1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03, 1.17). Among postmenopausal women, use of HT over 10+ years was associated with a 21% higher risk of hearing loss compared with no use (MVRR 1.21 95% CI 1.07, 1.37) while use for 5–9.9 years was associated with a 15% increased risk (MVRR 1.15 95% CI 1.06, 1.24).

The researchers conclude that hearing health could be considered by women evaluating the risks and benefits of HT.

References

[1] Curhan SG, Eliassen AH, Eavey RD et al. Menopause and postmenopausal hormone therapy and risk of hearing loss. Menopause: J North Am Menopause Soc 2017:24;9. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000878

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, May 2017;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202837