Conclusion: Underweight and severe obesity were associated with an increased prevalence of hearing loss in a Korean population.
Objective: The relationship between weight and hearing loss is unclear. This study, therefore, analyzed the relationship between hearing loss and body mass index (BMI) in a Korean population.
Methods: The prevalence and severity of hearing loss were assessed in 61 052 subjects who underwent health screening examinations, including hearing tests. Subjects were divided into five groups according to BMI (underweight, normal, overweight, obese, and severely obese). The relationships between the prevalence and severity of hearing loss and BMI were analyzed, after adjusting for the effects of age.
Results: The rates of mild or greater hearing loss in the underweight, normal, overweight, obese, and severely obese groups were 24.9%, 20.4%, 21.8%, 21.2%, and 24.1%, respectively. Mild severity of hearing loss was the most common in all five groups, followed by moderate, moderately severe, and severe hearing loss, in that order. Multivariate analysis, showed that the odds ratios of hearing loss in the severely obese, and underweight groups, compared with the normal group, were 1.312 and 1.282, respectively.
Keywords: Hearing loss; age; obesity; underweight.