Associations between medical conditions and auditory dysfunction in US Veterans

Leslie D. Grush, Kelly M. Reavis, Susan Griest, Samrita Thapa, Wendy J. Helt, James Henry, Sarah M. Theodoroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine associations between non-otologic medical conditions and auditory dysfunction. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Noise Outcomes in Service members Epidemiology (NOISE) study. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between medical conditions (0, 1, and 2 or more conditions) and auditory dysfunction (hearing loss pure tone average ≥20 dB HL and tinnitus), adjusting for key confounders including noise exposure. Secondarily, the association between specific medical conditions and auditory dysfunction was examined. All variables were self-reported. Study sample: United States military Veterans (n = 580) with mean age 34.1 years (standard deviation = 9.2), who were within approximately 2.5 years of separation from service. Results: Compared to Veterans reporting no medical conditions, Veterans reporting two or more had increased odds on low-frequency hearing loss and on tinnitus but not on high or extended-high frequency hearing loss. Furthermore, specific conditions sleep disorder and arthritis were associated with auditory dysfunction. Conclusions: Non-otologic medical conditions were associated with low-frequency hearing loss and tinnitus in this sample of young Veterans. This suggests medical conditions may play a role in Veterans’ hearing health. Whether management of medical conditions earlier in life reduces the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus requires further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational journal of audiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • comorbidity
  • Hearing loss
  • noise
  • tinnitus
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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