Predictors of Hearing Acuity: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Analysis

A.M. Linssen*, M.P.J. van Boxtel, M. Joore, L.J.C. Anteunis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background. This study aimed to identify predictors of hearing thresholds (best-ear pure-tone average at 1, 2, and 4 kHz) and hearing deterioration in order to define potential target groups for hearing screening. Methods. We analyzed data from the Maastricht Aging Study, a Dutch cohort (aged 24-81 years; N = 1,721) that was observed for 12 years. Mixed model analysis was used to calculate each participant's average hearing threshold deterioration rate during the follow-up period. We built ordinary least square linear regression models to predict the baseline threshold and deterioration rate. Potential predictors included in these models were age, gender, type of occupation, educational level, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, systemic inflammatory disease, hypertension, obesity, waist circumference, smoking, and physical activity level. We also examined the relationship between baseline threshold and the deterioration rate. Results. Poorer baseline thresholds were strongly associated with faster hearing deterioration. Higher age, male gender, manual occupation, and large waist circumference were statistically significantly associated with poorer baseline thresholds and faster deterioration, although the effects of occupation type and waist circumference were small. Conclusions. This study indicates that age and gender must be taken into account when determining the target population for adult hearing screening and that the time interval between repeated screenings should be based either on age or on the hearing thresholds at the first screening.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-765
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series A-Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number6
Early online date22 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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