Objective: We investigated the hypothesis that childhood obesity is a risk factor for sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) independent of other metabolic risk factors. Study Design: A complex, multistage, stratified geographic area design for collecting representative data from noninstitutionalized US population. Methods: A total of 5,638 adolescents between age 12 and 19 from the NHANES database (2005-2010) were studied. Subjects with body mass index >= 95th percentile were classified as obese. SNHL was defined as average pure-tone greater than 15dB HL for 0.5, 1, and 2kHz or 3, 4, 6, and 8 kHz in at least 1 ear. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed incident hearing loss odds across obese patients in comparison with normal weight individuals (5th-85th percentile). Multivariable models included age, sex, socioeconomic status, race, smoke exposure, high density lipoprotein level, triglyceride level, elevated blood pressure measurement, hemoglobin A1C level, and C-reactive protein level. Results: The rate of SNHL was 21.5% in obese and 13.44% in normal weight adolescents (p < 0.0001). In multivariable analyses, obesity was associated with 1.73-fold increase in the odds of SNHL (95% CI: 1.25-2.40, p value=0.006). Potentially confounding and mediating factors had minimal effect on the odds of SNHL in obese study participants (OR range of 1.69-1.75, all p values <= 0.01). Conclusions: Obesity is associated with higher prevalence of SNHL in adolescents independent of other potential risk factors. Future longitudinal investigations and mechanistic studies are warranted.
- National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
- Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL)