Peripheral Auditory Function in Young HIV-Positive Adults With Clinically Normal Hearing

Christopher E. Niemczak*, Travis White-Schwoch, Abigail Fellows, Albert Magohe, Jiang Gui, Catherine Rieke, Trent Nicol, Enica R. Massawe, Ndeserua Moshi, Nina Kraus, Jay C. Buckey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Little is known about peripheral auditory function in young adults with HIV, who might be expected to show early evidence of hearing loss if HIV infection or treatment does affect peripheral function. The goal of this study was to compare peripheral auditory function in 2 age- and gender-matched groups of young adults with clinically normal hearing with and without HIV. Study Design: Matched cohort study with repeated measures. Setting: Infectious disease center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Methods: Participants included HIV-positive (n = 38) and HIV-negative (n = 38) adults aged 20 to 30 years who had clinically normal hearing, defined as type A tympanograms, air conduction thresholds ≤25 dB HL bilaterally from 0.5 to 8 kHz, and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) >6 dB above the noise floor bilaterally from 1.5 to 8 kHz. Participants were tested multiple times over 6-month intervals (average, 2.7 sessions/participant) for a total of 208 observations. Primary outcome measures included tympanograms, air conduction audiograms, DPOAEs, and click-evoked auditory brainstem responses. Results: HIV groups did not significantly differ in age, static immittance, or air conduction thresholds. HIV-positive status was independently associated with approximately 3.7-dB lower DPOAE amplitudes from 2 to 8 kHz (95% CI, 1.01-6.82) in both ears and 0.04-µV lower (95% CI, 0.003-0.076) auditory brainstem response wave I amplitudes in the right ear. Conclusion: Young adults living with HIV have slightly but reliably smaller DPOAEs and auditory brainstem response wave I amplitudes than matched HIV-negative controls. The magnitude of these differences is small, but these results support measuring peripheral auditory function in HIV-positive individuals as they age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • HIV
  • auditory brainstem response (ABR)
  • distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs)
  • peripheral auditory function
  • tympanometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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