Age-related hearing impairment (ARHI) is becoming a more significant issue as geriatric population increases. Sarcopenia in older people is known to have a diverse health problem in various circumstances in recent studies. We assessed whether the decrease in muscle mass is related to ARHI. We used the 2010 data of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) to examine the associations between sarcopenia and ARHI. A total number of participants was 1,622 including 746 males and 876 females aged 60 years or older. Muscle mass was assessed as an appendicular skeletal muscle mass, and hearing loss was defined as the pure-tone averages (PTA) of test frequencies 0.5,1,2, 4 kHz at a threshold of 40 dB or higher in worse hearing side of the ear. Among 1,622 participants, 298 men and 256 women had hearing loss. Appendicular muscle mass (ASM), expressed as kg, was categorized in tertiles. Infemale population, after adjusting for age, smoking, drinking, amount of exercise, total body fat, education level, income level, and tinnitus, the odds ratio (OR) for hearing loss was 1.57 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.92-2.68) in the middle tertile and 1.79 (1.03-3.08) in the lowest tertile, compared with the highest tertile. P for trend in this model was 0.036. Controlling further for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and three types of noise exposure did not change the association. Larger muscle mass is associated with lower prevalence of hearing loss in elderly Korean females.
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