Aging and the 4-kHz Air–Bone Gap PurposeIn this study, the authors assessed age- and sex-related patterns in the prevalence and 10-year incidence of 4-kHz air–bone gaps and associated factors.MethodData were obtained as part of the longitudinal, population-based Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (Cruickshanks et al., 1998). An air–bone gap at 4 kHz was defined as an ... Article
Article  |   August 01, 2012
Aging and the 4-kHz Air–Bone Gap
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ted S. Tweed
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Karen J. Cruickshanks
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Terry L. Wiley
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Dayna S. Dalton
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Correspondence to David M. Nondahl: nondahl@episense.wisc.edu
  • Editor: Sid Bacon
    Editor: Sid Bacon×
  • Associate Editor: Sandra Gordon-Salant
    Associate Editor: Sandra Gordon-Salant×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing
Article   |   August 01, 2012
Aging and the 4-kHz Air–Bone Gap
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2012, Vol. 55, 1128-1134. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/11-0204)
History: Received July 29, 2011 , Accepted November 29, 2011
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2012, Vol. 55, 1128-1134. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/11-0204)
History: Received July 29, 2011; Accepted November 29, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

PurposeIn this study, the authors assessed age- and sex-related patterns in the prevalence and 10-year incidence of 4-kHz air–bone gaps and associated factors.

MethodData were obtained as part of the longitudinal, population-based Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (Cruickshanks et al., 1998). An air–bone gap at 4 kHz was defined as an air-conduction threshold ≥ 15 dB higher than the bone-conduction threshold in the right ear.

ResultsAmong 3,553 participants ages 48–92 years at baseline (1993–1995), 3.4% had a 4-kHz air–bone gap in the right ear. The prevalence increased with age. Among the 120 participants with an air–bone gap, 60.0% did not have a flat tympanogram or an air–bone gap at 0.5 kHz. Ten years later, the authors assessed 2,093 participants who did not have a 4-kHz air–bone gap at baseline; 9.2% had developed a 4-kHz air–bone gap in the right ear. The incidence increased with age. Among the 192 participants who had developed an air–bone gap, 60.9% did not have a flat tympanogram or air–bone gaps at other frequencies.

ConclusionThese results suggest that a finding of a 4-kHz air–bone gap may reflect a combination of aging and other factors and not necessarily exclusively abnormal middle-ear function.

Acknowledgments
The project described in this article was supported by National Institute on Aging Grant R37AG11099. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the official views of the National Institute on Aging or the National Institutes of Health.This article was presented, in part, at the American Auditory Society Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, March 3–5, 2011.
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