Objective: To evaluate the influence of serum lipids on auditory function.
Study design: The study group comprised 607 men and 317 women who underwent medical examination at our hospital. Eligibility criteria included 1) age of 40 to 59 years; 2) normal ear drums; 3) no history of noise exposure or of diseases associated with hearing loss; 4) normal results of a glucose tolerance test; and 5) normal hearing or sensorineural hearing loss with a flat-form or high-tone gradual-form audiogram. We investigated the relation between the hearing level of the better-hearing ear and serum concentrations of total cholesterol, triglyceride, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Methods: For each variable, the subjects were divided into two groups--a high-level group (serum lipid concentration > or = 1 SD higher than the mean) and a low-level group (serum lipid concentration < or = 1 SD lower than the mean). Differences in hearing level between the two groups were compared according to sex with the t test.
Results: For total cholesterol and total triglyceride, there was no significant difference in hearing level between the high-level group and the low-level group in either sex. As for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, hearing levels at 2,000 Hz (P < .05) and 4,000 Hz (P < .01) in the high-level group were significantly better than those in the low-level group in men.
Conclusion: A low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration is associated with hearing loss. Arteriopathy may play a role in auditory dysfunction.