23 July 2019

Gout increases the risk of hearing loss in seniors

Seniors with gout have a nearly 50% increased risk of hearing loss, an American study finds.

Adults aged 65 or older have a 44% increased risk of developing hearing loss compared to those who do not suffer from gout, data from US Medicare claims between 2006–2012 shows.

In the study of US adults aged 65 years or older, the researchers behind the study found an independent association of gout with a 44% higher risk of new hearing impairment after adjusting for demographics, medical comorbidities and the commonly used medications for cardiovascular disease and gout.

Gout is very common

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis characterised by recurrent attacks of red, tender, hot, and swollen joints.  Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis in adults.

Another sort of inflammatory arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints, also increases the risk of hearing loss.

About the study

The study was based on a 5% random sample of US Medicare claims between 2006–2012, representative of US adults aged 65 years or older. Among the 1.71 million people in the study, 89,409 developed incident hearing impairment.

The study, "Gout and hearing impairment in the elderly: a retrospective cohort study using the US Medicare claims data", was published in BMJ Open.

Sources: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and www.rheumatologyadvisor.com

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