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Researchers identify link between HRT and hearing loss

Thursday 25th May 2017
Women who take HRT may be more likely to suffer from hearing loss, new research suggests. Image: chrupka via iStock
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Menopausal women who begin taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to control their symptoms may be unwittingly putting themselves at increased risk of hearing loss, according to a new study.
 
The North American Menopause Society has published research that shows women taking HRT were significantly more likely to suffer from hearing loss.
 
This conclusion was reached following the monitoring of 80,972 women, all of whom self-reported that their hearing function had begun to decline. The researchers looked at the potential factors behind this, including age and lifestyle, but found a significant connection between the onset of hearing loss and HRT.
 
Long-term users of hormone replacement therapy were found to be especially more likely to experience a decline in their hearing function, but the study authors acknowledge that there could be other factors at play behind this, such as women's advancing age and potentially even their genetics.
 
JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, commented: "The finding from this observational study that women who underwent menopause at a later age and used hormone therapy had greater hearing loss was unexpected, but should lead to more testing in a randomised, clinical trial.
 
"Information about the potential effect on hearing is important to include in a discussion regarding the risks and benefits of hormone therapy for symptomatic menopausal women."
 
Women could therefore have to decide whether they want to safeguard their hearing and avoid using HRT or take advantage of the therapy to reduce their risk of suffering symptoms associated with the menopause such as hot flushes, mood changes and migraines, but risk experiencing a decline in their hearing function.
 
Just last month, research was published showing that women who take HRT to cope with menopausal symptoms can reduce their risk of premature death by almost one-third (30 per cent), demonstrating that there are still conflicting opinions regarding the benefits of the therapy.
 
Written by James Puckle
 
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