Table_1_Exploring the Association of Leukocyte Telomere Length and Hearing Threshold Shifts of Adults in the United States.docx
Although telomere length has a significant relationship with various age-related diseases, studies on its relationship with hearing status in adults are limited and equivocal. This study investigated the associations between mean telomere length (MTL) and low-, speech-, and high-frequency hearing threshold shifts of adults in the United States.Methods
A total of 2,027 adults, aged 20-69 years, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES, 1999–2002) were included in the analytic sample. The quantitative polymerase chain reaction method was used for the MTL assay, and MTL was expressed using the telomere-to-single copy gene (T/S) ratio. Hearing loss was defined as a pure-tone average (PTA) for the better ear at ≥ 20 dB HL at frequencies 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 Hz. Univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses and smooth curve fittings were conducted to evaluate the correlation between MTL and low-, speech-, and high-frequency hearing levels.Results
The mean age of the participants was 40.60 ± 12.76 years, including 952 men (weighted, 48.67%) and 303 (weighted, 12.88%) participants with hearing loss. After adjusting for potential confounders in the multivariate linear regression model, the relationship between MTL and hearing thresholds was not statistically significant. Smooth curve fittings indicated a non-linear relationship between MTL and high-frequency PTA hearing threshold shifts. MTL was inversely related to high-frequency PTA to the turning point (T/S ratio = 0.82) (adjusted β−21.45, 95% CI −37.28, −5.62; P = 0.008). When the T/S ratio exceeded0.82, MTL was not associated with high-frequency PTA (adjusted β0.18, 95% CI −2.21, 2.57; P = 0.8809).Conclusion
Our findings revealed that MTL was associated with high-frequency PTA hearing threshold shifts of adults in the United States in a non-linear manner.