The prevalence of hearing loss among rheumatoid arthritis patients is higher than among the normal healthy population, according to a Spanish study.

The study, conducted at the University Hospital Clinic in Valencia, Spain, found that almost half of patients with rheumatoid arthritis suffer from hearing loss also.

Researchers studied 301 participants. Some 194 subjects with a mean age of 40 years suffered from arthritis, and 107 subjects with an average age of 47 years became the control group.

Researchers evaluated their hearing with a tonal audiometry in seven pitch frequencies. They found that 43% of patients with arthritis also suffered from hearing loss, in comparison with 16% of the healthy population. The hearing loss found in the study was mainly sensorineural.

The study also found that women were more affected than men; 71% of females with arthritis suffered from hearing loss, in comparison to 41% of women in the control group.

Hearing loss in patients with arthritis also occurred at a younger age. Subjects suffering from arthritis and hearing loss were 41 years old on average, in comparison with an average age of people in the healthy population with hearing loss of 52 years.

Other studies have shown the connection between rheumatoid arthritis and hearing loss. However, no hearing test is administered to this population unless individual patients mention they have hearing problems.

The study underlined the risk of hearing loss among rheumatoid arthritis patients. The researchers recommend providing a hearing test to patients with arthritis as a preventive measure.

Source: “Deterioro auditivo en pacientes con artritis reumatoide,” Acta de Otorrinolaring.

[Source: hear-it]