1. Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yeungnam University Hospital, Daegu, Republic of Korea;
2. Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Republic of Korea.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: Visceral fat area (VFA) using bioimpedance analysis (BIA) as a simple analyzer can be used to assess VFA, which may be associated with HL. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the clinical relevance and usefulness of VFA using BIA as a predictor of HL.
Patients and Methods: In total, 18,415 patients were recruited into our study. VFAs were measured using multi-frequency BIA. VFAs were normalized by body mass index (BMI). Participants were divided into 3 tertiles based on their VFA/BMI for both sexes. For both ears of each participant, the low-frequency (Low-Freq), mid-frequency (Mid-Freq), and high-frequency (High-Freq) values were obtained calculating the pure tone averages at 0.5 and 1 kHz, 2 and 3 kHz, and 4 and 6 kHz, respectively. The average hearing threshold (AHT) was calculated as the pure tone average at the 4 frequencies (i.e., 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 kHz). HL was defined as AHT >40 dB.
Results: The VFA/BMI had the greatest AUROC among VFA, BMI, and VFA/BMI in both sexes in this study. In both univariate and multivariate analyses, VFA/BMI tertiles were associated with all 4 hearing thresholds (i.e., Low-Freq, Mid-Freq, High-Freq, and AHT). The 4 hearing thresholds were positively correlated with VFA/BMI as a continuous variable. The odds ratio for HL increased as the VFA/BMI tertile increased.
Conclusion: VFA/BMI was associated with hearing impairment in the Asian population. The participants with high VFA/BMI should be closely monitored for hearing impairment.
Keywords: Visceral fat area, body mass index, hearing threshold, bioimpedance analysis.