J Mov Disord.  2019 May;12(2):84-90. 10.14802/jmd.18048.

Asymptomatic Hearing Impairment Frequently Occurs in Early-Onset Parkinson's Disease

Affiliations
  • 1Comprehensive Care Centre for Movement Disorders, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, India. drsyam@sctimst.ac.in
  • 2Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, India.
  • 3Department of Audiology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, India.

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
Recent reports of hearing impairment in Parkinson's disease (PD) have suggested that auditory dysfunction could be a non-motor manifestation of PD. These reports were based on observations of elderly patients for whom presbycusis may, to some extent, have contributed to hearing dysfunction. Therefore, we aimed to explore the auditory functions in younger patients with PD.
METHODS
We conducted a case-control study in a relatively younger (< 55 years of age at study time) population of PD patients and healthy volunteers to test whether auditory dysfunction is a significant non-motor dysfunction in PD. Pure tone audiometry (PTA) and brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA) were performed in all participants.
RESULTS
None of the patients or controls reported hearing deficits. Fifty-one patients with PD and 50 healthy volunteers who were age- and gender-matched to the patients participated. PTA-detected hearing impairment was found in 64.7% of patients and 28% of controls (p < 0.001) for both low-mid and/or high frequencies. Hearing impairment was more frequent in the younger subgroups of patients than age-matched controls, while the frequency of hearing impairment was similar in older groups of subjects. BERA was not different between patients and controls.
CONCLUSION
Asymptomatic auditory dysfunction is a common non-motor manifestation of early-onset PD and more frequent in younger patients, indicating that it may be independent of aging. The mechanism underlying this dysfunction appears to be peripheral, although a central dysfunction cannot be ruled out based on the findings of this study.

Keyword

Parkinson's disease; hearing impairment; non-motor symptoms; pure tone audiometry; brainstem evoked response audiometry

MeSH Terms

Aged
Aging
Audiometry
Audiometry, Evoked Response
Brain Stem
Case-Control Studies
Healthy Volunteers
Hearing Loss*
Hearing*
Humans
Parkinson Disease*
Presbycusis
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