OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate whether patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are more likely to have subclinical hearing loss compared with persons without RA. METHODS: This is a case-control cross-sectional study of 29 patients with RA with disease duration greater than 5 years. Five males and five females were recruited into each decade category (age 40-49, 50-59, and 60-69). These cases were matched in a 1:1 ratio by sex and age to 30 control subjects. A comprehensive set of audiometric and disease severity assessments were performed. RESULTS: Seventeen (59%) of 29 patients with RA had abnormal hearing for at least one frequency (four in one ear, 13 in two ears) by audiometry as did 14 (47%) of 30 control subjects (five in one ear, nine in two ears). The percentage of patients with hearing loss (% RA vs. % control subjects) was: 45% versus 40% sensorineural, 10% versus 7% conductive, and 3% versus 0% mixed hearing loss. In RA versus control subjects, acoustic reflex threshold was abnormal in 17% versus 7%; speech reception threshold was abnormal in 10% versus 3%. Tympanometry and otoacoustic emission findings were similar in both groups. Word recognition did not differ between patients with RA and control subjects. In patients with RA/control subjects, hearing handicap, dizziness, and health assessment questionnaires were abnormal in 28%/7%, 14%/3%, and 72%/7%, respectively. CONCLUSION: There was no difference found in objective audiometric measurements in patients with RA compared with non-RA control subjects. Subjectively patients with RA were more likely to perceive themselves as having hearing disturbances, which may be related to overall disease related functional impairment.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Nov 1 2006|
- Hearing loss
- Rheumatoid arthritis
ASJC Scopus subject areas