A 4-year follow-up study of hearing acuity in a large population-based cohort of children and adolescents

Danique E. Paping*, Jantien L. Vroegop, Carlijn M.P. le Clercq, Robert J. Baatenburg de Jong, Marc P. van der Schroeff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives: To describe the prevalence of hearing loss among 13 year old adolescents, and to examine the change in prevalence between ages 9 and 13 years. Methods: This study was embedded within Generation R, a population-based prospective cohort study from fetal life onwards in the Netherlands. Pure-tone thresholds were obtained at 0.5 to 8 kHz, and tympanometry was performed. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) was defined as a low-frequency and/or high-frequency pure-tone average of more than 15 dB HL in one of both ears. Audiometric signs suggestive of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) included the presence of a notch and/or high-frequency hearing loss. The study was conducted from April 2012 to October 2015, and April 2016 to September 2019. Results: A total of 4572 adolescents with a mean age of 13 years and 7 months (SD, 5 months) were included, of whom 2334 (51.0%) were girls. Within the cohort, 6.4% (95% CI, 5.7%-7.2%) were estimated to have SNHL, and 12.4% (95% CI, 11.5%-13.4%) met the criteria of NIHL. In total, 3675 participants were included in the longitudinal analysis. The prevalence of SNHL decreased from 8.0% to 5.3% between ages 9 and 13 years (P <.001). The prevalence of NIHL increased from 9.8% to 11.7% (P =.004), due to an increase in number of participants with a notch. Conclusions: The prevalence of SNHL significantly decreased by 2.7% (95% CI, 1.6%-3.9%) between ages 9 and 13 years, probably due to a change in alertness during assessment at the age of 13 years. Other possible explanations include the presence of selection bias or a decline in prevalence of conductive hearing loss. The number of participants with audiometric signs suggestive of NIHL increased by 1.9% (95% CI, 0.5%-3.3%). Level of Evidence: Level 3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-309
Number of pages8
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number2
Early online date9 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Generation R Study is conducted by the Erasmus Medical Center in close collaboration with Faculty of Social Sciences of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area, Rotterdam, and the Stichting Trombosedienst & Artsenlaboratorium Rijnmond (STAR-MDC), Rotterdam. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of children and parents, general practitioners, hospitals, midwives and pharmacies in Rotterdam. The general design of Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development. The researchers are independent from the funders. The study sponsors had no role in the study design, data analysis, interpretation of data, or writing of this report.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. on behalf of The Triological Society.


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