HealthDay News — Otologic symptoms and hearing loss are more common among patients with HIV than those without the disease, according to findings published in JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.

Compared with HIV-negative patients, HIV-positive patients had more otologic symptoms (41 vs. 13; P=0.04), and higher rates of hearing loss (27.2% vs. 5.6%; P=0.04), according to Jean Valentin F. Fokouo, MD, from the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon.

He and colleagues examined the effect of HIV and highly-active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) on hearing function in a Cameroonian population. They examined data were included from 90 HIV-positive case patients (30 HART-naive patients, 30 patients receiving first-line HAART, and 30 receiving second-line HAART) and 90 HIV-negative controls. Participants were aged 15 to 49 years, with no history of hearing loss or treatment with a known ototoxic drug.

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The odds of hearing loss were higher among HIV-infected HAART-naive patients (right ear: odds ratio [OR], 6.7; left ear: OR, 6.2), patients receiving first-line HAART (right ear: OR, 5.6; left ear: OR, 12.5), and patients receiving second-line HAART (right ear: OR, 6.7; left ear: OR, 3.7), compared with HIV-negative individuals.

“Further studies are needed because controversy remains regarding the factors that lead to ear damage,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Fokouo JVF et al. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015; doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2015.125.