According to a newly published study in BMJ Open, older patients with gout were more likely to develop hearing loss than those without the condition.
Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints. The condition has risk factors similar to hearing loss, and has been suspected to have some shared pathogenesis, which is what led investigators to search for whether a correlation exists between the two conditions.
Gout and Hearing Loss: Study
In a retrospective cohort study, investigators examined a 5% random sample of US Medicare claims 2006–2012, representative of US adults aged 65 years or older.
Among the 1.71 million eligible people, 89,409 developed incident hearing impairment. The crude incidence rates of incident hearing impairment in people with versus without gout were 16.9 vs. 8.7 per 1000 person-years. Using Cox regression analyses adjusted for demographics, medical comorbidity and common cardiovascular and gout medications, researchers found gout was associated with a significantly higher rate incident hearing impairment.
An independent association of gout with a 44% higher risk of new hearing impairment was found, after adjusting for demographics, medical comorbidities and the commonly used medications for cardiovascular disease and gout. Findings were found to be robust across multiple sensitivity analyses.
According to the investigators, the study is one of the first descriptions in the literature of an association between gout and hearing loss in an older population.
The authors noted that future research should examine the common underlying mechanisms of the association between the two conditions.
Source: BMJ Open