Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists raise caution about effects of HRT on hearing

25.02.2004


A small pilot study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that women who undergo hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) may run the risk of diminished hearing. Depending on the measure, HRT recipients on average did anywhere from 10 to 30 percent worse on hearing tests than women who had not received HRT, says Robert D. Frisina, Ph.D., professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.



Frisina and colleagues from the International Center for Hearing and Speech Research (ICHSR), an NIH-funded group of scientists from the University of Rochester and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, presented the work this week at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology in Daytona, Fla.

The scientists used three tests to compare the hearing of 32 women between the ages of 60 and 86 who had had hormone therapy to 32 other women who had not. While the HRT group performed more poorly across the board, it was in complex settings – such as the ability to decipher a sentence while listening to someone amid a loud backdrop, like the cacophony at a cocktail party – that the HRT group fared worst.


"It’s important to alert women that there could be another significant side effect of hormone-replacement therapy," says Frisina. "We know these findings clearly apply to the 64 women we studied. What we can’t say, from such a small number of people, is the extent to which they apply to everyone. A much larger study needs to be done.

"These results are very surprising. We thought hormones would help women hear better, because of the presence of estrogen receptors in the ear. This is the opposite of what we were expecting."

The HRT group performed most poorly on a test aimed at measuring not just how well the ear actually detects a sound, but also how well the brain processes that information. A large portion of age-related hearing loss, called presbycusis, involves the brain’s faltering ability to process information. It’s not much different from the work your computer does when billions of electronic signals registering as "0s" and "1s" flow in from the Internet – the computer takes those signals and makes words and graphics which we grasp quickly.

Our brains do similar work, filtering out unneeded information and prioritizing and organizing other information in a way we can understand. It’s this sophisticated system that decreases as we get older, the team has found – and it’s this ability that is most diminished in women who have received HRT compared to women who have not. Women in the HRT group on average performed this task 30 percent less effectively than other women.

"This would be most noticeable in situations where there is a lot going on, where there’s a lot of background noise," says Frisina. "The most obvious situation is a party where a lot of people are talking, and you’re trying to listen to one particular person. It’s as if the aging process, when it comes to their ability to hear, was accelerated in these women.

"Our findings raise concerns. Women should talk to their doctors before making any decisions. And certainly, the findings call for more extensive studies."

Frisina is part of the world’s foremost group on age-related hearing loss, a group currently funded with a five-year, $6.3-million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The group has been continually funded through five-year grants from NIH since 1993 and draws upon extensive research on human hearing, at RIT, with expertise in neuroscience from the University of Rochester.

Other scientists have previously linked HRT to increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, stroke, and dementia. The Rochester team presented the new results in a poster in Daytona and will submit their findings to a journal for publication.

The work was presented in Daytona by researcher Patricia Guimaraes of the University’s Department of Otolaryngology. Also contributing to the work besides Frisina were researchers Susan Frisina of the University of Rochester; audiologist Frances Mapes of Rochester Institute of Technology; SungHee Kim of Daegu, South Korea, who is visiting Frisina’s lab at the University; and D. Robert Frisina of RIT. All are part of the NIH-funded hearing and speech center.

Tom Rickey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>