A longitudinal study of the association between tooth loss and age-related hearing loss

Herenia P. Lawrence, Raul I. Garcia, Gregory K. Essick, Robert Hawkins, Elizabeth A. Krall, Avron Spiro, Pantel S. Vokonas, Lan Kong, Tonya King, Gary G. Koch

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31 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between hearing acuity and tooth loss in 1156 US veterans taking part in the Veterans Affairs' Normative Aging (NAS) and Dental Longitudinal (DLS) Studies in the Boston, MA, area. The mean age was 48 years (SD = 8.9), 5.3% were edentulous, and 15.4% had < 17 teeth at baseline. Hearing acuity was determined by purefone, air- and bone-conduction audiometry, and speech discrimination tests at triennial examinations over a 20-year follow-up period. Hearing decline was defined as a change from baseline in the average puretone air-conduction thresholds of ≥ 20 dB at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 kHz. The explanatory variables of interest were change since baseline in dentate status (cut points at < 1, < 17, and < 20 teeth), and in the number of teeth lost (linear). Linear and logistic regression models-which controlled for baseline audiological status, age, air-bone gap, and otoscopic examination at current visit - showed that subjects who went from having ≥ 17 to < 17 teeth had 1.64 times (95% CI, 1.24-2.17) as high odds of having hearing decline as those with no change in their dentate status. For every tooth lost since baseline, there was a 1.04 times as high odds (95% CI, 1.02-1.06) for hearing decline, when additional baseline and time-varying covariates were taken into account in the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-140
Number of pages12
JournalSpecial Care in Dentistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Dentistry


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