Conclusions: An unexpected rapid hearing decline remained after the 10-year follow up, similar to the hearing decline in 70-year-old women in reference materials. No clear changes concerning hearing in the peri- and postmenopausal period were noted.
Objective: To assess whether hearing decline correlates with menopause and/or cortisol blood levels.
Methods: A prospective individual longitudinal study of peri-menopausal women followed for 10 years was performed at baseline, and after 2, 7 and 10 years, respectively. With a starting age of around 51 years, 100 women remained in the study after 10 years. Pure-tone audiometry and cortisol blood testing were performed at all visits.
Results: A continuous hearing decline, at all frequencies, was found during the follow-up time. The rate of decline during the menopausal period was higher than compared with reference materials for the same age group. The correlation with time for menopause is most apparent at 1 and 3 kHz where the hearing decline is more rapid after menopause than before. Serum cortisol levels did not correlate with rate of hearing decline.
Keywords: Age; audiometry; cortisol; estrogen; gender differences; healthy.