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Obesity associated with hearing loss in adolescents
Date:6/17/2013

ts was relatively mild, the almost 2-fold increase in the odds of unilateral low-frequency hearing loss is particularly worrisome. It suggests early, and possibly ongoing, injury to the inner ear that could progress as the obese adolescent becomes an obese adult. Future research is needed on the adverse consequences of this early hearing loss on social development, academic performance, and behavioral and cognitive function.

"Furthermore, hearing loss should be added to the growing list of the negative health consequences of obesity that affect both children and adultsadding to the impetus to reduce obesity among people of all ages," said Dr. Lalwani.

In the United States, nearly 17 percent of children are obese, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of ≥95 percentile. (BMI in children is expressed as a percentile; adult BMI is expressed as a number based on weight and height.) Obesity and its associated morbidities have been identified as a risk factor for hearing loss in adults.

The study analyzed data from nearly 1,500 adolescents from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveya large, nationally representative sample of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19, conducted from 2005 to 2006 by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Participants were interviewed at home, taking into account family medical history, current medical conditions, medication use, household smokers, socioeconomic and demographic factors, and noise-exposure history.

Dr. Lalwani and his colleagues speculate that obesity may directly or indirectly lead to hearing loss. Although additional research is needed to determine the mechanisms involved, they theorize that obesity-induced inflammation may contribute to hearing loss. Low plasma levels of the anti-inflammatory protein adiponectin, which is secreted from adipose tissue, have been found in obese children, and low levels in obes
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Contact: Elizabeth Streich
eas2125@cumc.columbia.edu
212-305-3689
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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