Objective: To assess the association between age-related macular degeneration and age-related hearing loss in Turkish subjects aged 50 years or older.
Study design and setting: Prospective, case-control study within a tertiary university hospital.
Subjects and methods: Fifty subjects with age-related macular degeneration and 43 healthy subjects underwent ophthalmological and otolaryngological examination. Statistical analyses were conducted for the poorer eye and ear, comparing age-related hearing loss and pure tone average in the macular degeneration group versus controls.
Results: Median pure tone average was significantly poorer in the macular degeneration group (35 dBHL) compared with controls (23 dBHL). In the macular degeneration group, hearing loss was significantly greater in dry type (43 dBHL) than wet type (32 dBHL) cases. There was a significant difference between the prevalence of varying degrees of hearing loss in the macular degeneration versus control groups, being respectively: mild, 50 and 35 per cent; moderate, 20 and 5 per cent; and severe, 6 and 0 per cent. There was a weak, but significant correlation between each patient's visual acuity and pure tone average results (r(s) = -0.37, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Age-related hearing loss is more common in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Such patients should be questioned regarding hearing difficulty, and referred to an otolaryngologist if appropriate.