Objective: To identify risk factors of hearing decline between 9 and 13 years of age. The risk factors examined included sociodemographic, health, and lifestyle-related factors. Methods: This study was embedded within a population-based prospective cohort study from fetal life onwards in the Netherlands. Pure-tone audiometry and tympanometry were performed at the age of 9 and 13 years. The hearing decline was defined as an increase in low-frequency or high-frequency pure-tone average of at least 5 dB in one of both ears. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to examine the association of possible risk factors with hearing decline. The study was conducted from April 2012 to October 2015, and from April 2016 to September 2019. Results: Of the 3,508 participants included, 7.8% demonstrated a hearing decline in the low frequencies, and 11.3% in the high frequencies. Participants who reported alcohol consumption were more likely to have a hearing decline in the low frequencies (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1; 2.0). Moreover, a lower educational level was associated with an increased odds of having a hearing decline in the high frequencies (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0; 1.8). Age, sex, household income, personal music player use, and body mass index were not associated with hearing decline. Conclusion: Educational level and risky behavior were significantly associated with hearing decline from childhood to early adolescence. The findings of the present study can help in the design of public health interventions to prevent hearing loss at a young age. Level of Evidence: 2 (prospective cohort study) Laryngoscope, 2022.
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. Hanan El Marroun was supported by Stichting Volksbond Rotterdam, the Dutch Brain Foundation (De Hersenstichting, project number GH2016.2.01), the NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (grant number 27853), and the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program (LifeCycle, grant agreement 733206).
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