Racial/Ethnic Minorities Possibly at Increased Risk for Hearing Loss People from racial/ethnic minorities and those with low socioeconomic status have been linked with an increased risk of hearing loss in a recent data analysis. Researchers from the University of California–San Francisco analyzed demographic and audiometric data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988–1994), NHANES 2005–2006, ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   October 01, 2017
Racial/Ethnic Minorities Possibly at Increased Risk for Hearing Loss
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Hearing Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   October 01, 2017
Racial/Ethnic Minorities Possibly at Increased Risk for Hearing Loss
The ASHA Leader, October 2017, Vol. 22, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.22102017.12
The ASHA Leader, October 2017, Vol. 22, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.22102017.12
People from racial/ethnic minorities and those with low socioeconomic status have been linked with an increased risk of hearing loss in a recent data analysis.
Researchers from the University of California–San Francisco analyzed demographic and audiometric data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988–1994), NHANES 2005–2006, NHANES 2007–2008 and NHANES 2009–2010. A total of 7,036 survey participants (ages 12 to 19 years) with available audiometric measurements were included in the study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

“Further investigation into factors influencing these changes and continued monitoring of these groups are needed going forward.”

While researchers also observed an overall rise in exposure to loud noise or music through headphones 24 hours prior to audiometric testing from NHANES III to NHANES 2009–2010, noise exposure—either prolonged or recent—was not consistently associated with an increased risk of hearing loss across all participants in all surveys. Study authors acknowledge that participants tend to under-report information, so it is possible that reported levels of noise exposure and hearing-related behaviors underestimate the true prevalence.
However, authors say that the apparent increased risk of hearing loss in racial/ethnic populations and those who are economically disadvantaged remains concerning, as the most recent survey cycle showed that nonwhite race/ethnicity and low socioeconomic status are independent risk factors for hearing loss. “Further investigation into factors influencing these changes and continued monitoring of these groups are needed going forward,” they say.
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October 2017
Volume 22, Issue 10