Markers of Overall Nutritional Status and Incident Hearing Impairment in Community-Dwelling Older Japanese: The Kurabuchi Study

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the association between four markers of overall nutritional status (a serum biomarker (albumin) and three anthropometric indices (body mass index (BMI), midarm circumference (MAC), calf circumference (CC))) and incident hearing impairment in older Japanese adults.

DESIGN:

Community-based prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

Kurabuchi Town, Gunma Prefecture, Japan.

PARTICIPANTS:

Individuals aged 65 and older (143 men, 195 women) without hearing impairment at baseline examination (2005–06) who participated in repeated examinations 4 years later (2009–10) (N = 338).

MEASUREMENTS:

The three anthropometric indices were measured at baseline, and nephelometry was used to assess serum albumin levels. Hearing impairment was defined as failure to hear a 30-dB hearing level signal at 1 kHz and a 40-dB signal at 4 kHz in the better ear on pure-tone audiometry.

RESULTS:

Over the 4-year period, 16.3% of participants developed hearing impairment. Those with lower marker values had greater risk of hearing impairment than those with higher marker values (multivariable adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.18, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05–4.57 for albumin ≤4.0 g/dL; aOR = 2.72, 95% CI = 1.10–6.71 for BMI <19.0 kg/m2). The pattern of association showed a similar tendency for MAC and CC. Excluding obese participants did not changed the results substantially.

CONCLUSION:

Further research is needed to determine whether interventions that improve markers of nutritional status may help prevent age-related hearing loss in older adults.

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