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Illness hits late-life hearing, study says

Illness hits late-life hearing, study says
Photo: Illness hits late-life hearing, study says
Common childhood illnesses such as tonsillitis and ear infections can cause hearing loss later in life, according to results from a UK study.

Common childhood illnesses such as tonsillitis and ear infections can cause hearing loss later in life, according to results from a famous study.

The Newcastle Thousand Families Study monitored 1,142 Newcastle-born babies from 1947 to the present day, measuring their health, growth and development.

A quarter of the participants, who are now in their 60s, have had their hearing tested and the results show those who had infections as children were more likely to have hearing loss.

Dr Mark Pearce, who led the study at the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University, said: "Our findings show that those who suffered from infections as a child were more likely to have a hearing loss in their 60s. Reducing childhood infection rates may help prevent hearing loss later in life.

"This study shows the importance of the Newcastle birth cohorts, with the study initially focusing on childhood infections. The study is nearly 70 years old and continues to make a major contribution to understanding health conditions, which is only possible through the continued contribution of cohort members."

Tonsillitis, ear infections and multiple episodes of bronchitis occurring in the first year of life were linked to the condition.

Dr Ralph Holme, Head of Biomedical Research at Action on Hearing Loss, said: "Hearing loss affects as many as one in six people across the UK and is often seen as just another sign of getting old.

However, the study shows that this is not necessarily the case; illnesses in childhood could have long-lasting consequences for hearing in later life.

Copy AAP 2014.

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