Hormone therapy tied to age-related hearing loss in older women
Hormone Replacement Therapy with progestin increases the risk of hearing loss in older women. The hormone supplement may result in 10-30 percent lower hearing.
HRT with progestin appears to speed up the natural gradual loss of hearing experienced by most women as they age. On average, women treated with progestin were found to have a hearing corresponding to other women 5 to 10 years older. The study included 124 women aged between 60 and 86 years.
"Whether a woman goes on HRT is certainly her decision, and she should discuss the options with her doctor. In light of these findings, we feel that hearing loss should be added to the list of negative things to keep in mind when talking about HRT. Women especially who already have a hearing problem should weigh this decision carefully. Women on HRT should consider having a thorough hearing check-up done every six months," senior author Robert D. Frisina, of the International Center for Hearing and Speech Research, said to www.medicalnewstoday.com.
Examinations of the women uncovered problems in the inner ear as well as in the portions of the brain used for hearing.
No effect on hearing from estrogen
Some of the women in the study were treated with estrogen only. Surprisingly, estrogen was found to have no effect on hearing.
"It's long been thought that estrogen is good for nerve cells, so we wanted to see if women on estrogen as part of HRT had better hearing than women not on HRT. We were very surprised to find not only that women on estrogen did not hear better than other women, but that the women who were also on progestin actually heard worse", said Frisina.
The study is part of a wider research project into age-related hearing loss.
Summarization provided by www.hear-it.org
Sources: www.reutershealth.com, 04.09.2006 and www.medicalnewstoday.com, 09.09.2006