Could HIV affect hearing?

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02 Mar 2015

Findings from a study have suggested that people living with HIV who are on antiretroviral treatment (ART) may be more likely to experience hearing loss. The study — conducted at the San Diego State University in California — set out to determine whether HIV and ART are associated with changes to pure-tone hearing thresholds, the softest sounds audible to most human beings.

Two cohorts of middle-aged positive and negative men and women were exposed to a wide range of audio frequencies, from 250 Hz to 1,000 Hz. Researchers discovered that low- and high-frequency pure tone averages were significantly higher among the HIV-positive participants, indicating their hearing was poorer than the negative group’s.

“To our knowledge,” wrote the authors, “this is the first study to demonstrate that HIV-positive individuals have poorer hearing across the frequency range.”