Journal of oral rehabilitation vol:31 issue:4 pages:306-10
Some previous studies suggest an association between tooth loss and hearing loss. The aim of this study is to assess the relation between oral status and hearing acuity. Forty-eight patients (mean age: 64.7 years) were allocated to four groups: one was wearing complete dentures in both jaws, another had shortened dental arches, a third had full dental arches in both jaws and the last lacked any occlusal stops (i.e. no occlusal vertical dimension, because of the absence of teeth or occlusal pairs). Audiological testing was performed in a noise-free chamber. Air and bone conduction were checked at different frequencies and the air-bone gap was determined. After correction for age and gender, a difference in air and bone conduction because of the oral status was found for low and for high frequencies while no significant differences were (P < 0.05) found for the air-bone gap. The number of teeth, number of occluding tooth pairs and presence or lack of occlusal vertical dimension, was significantly related to the gradient of hearing loss (P < 0.05). The discrepancy in hearing loss between complete denture wearers and patients without any occlusal vertical dimension, strengthens the hypothesis that it is the lack of the latter that is associated with hearing loss. At what level hearing loss occurs, needs further investigation.