In one of the previous [i]Menopause Live[/i] issues, the association of ocular pressure and HRT was discussed, as an example of a relatively unrecognized effect of hormones. Another system that rarely receives attention in this respect is the otolaryngeal system. Unfortunately, most of the publications appear in specialty journals such as [i]Journal of Voice[/i] or [i]Hearing Research[/i], which are not accessible to us, as menopause specialists. However, several studies and reviews from the past 2 months sparked my curiosity and led to the commentary below. Since [i]Menopause Live[/i] requires a citation from a very new publication, the following will serve as an introduction. Hederstierna and colleagues  examined 104 women with a mean age of 51.2 years at baseline. Women were tested twice with pure tone audiometry, with an average interval between the two tests of 7.5 years. Their age at their final menstrual period (FMP) was reported by all women. Hearing decline at individual frequencies was calculated. Women with a FMP 0–4 years ago had a rate of high frequency hearing decline of 0.9–1.5 dB/year in the left ear; those with a FMP 5–7 years ago had a corresponding rate of 1.1–1.5 dB/year in the right ear. In those women whose FMP was 8–13 years ago, the decline was more subtle, 0.7–1.1 dB/year in both ears. The conclusions were that menopause appeared to act as a trigger to a relatively rapid age-related hearing decline in healthy women, starting in the left ear.
Department of Medicine T, Ichilov Hospital, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Hederstierna C, Hultcrantz M, Collins A, et al. The menopause triggers hearing decline in healthy women. Hear Res 2009 Sep 23. Epub ahead of print.
Dhaeseleer E, Depypere H, Claeys S, et al. The menopause and the female larynx, clinical aspects and therapeutical options: a literature review. Maturitas 2009;64:27-32.
Lindholm P, Vilkman E, Raudaskoski T, et al. The effect of postmenopause and postmenopausal HRT on measured voice values and vocal symptoms. Maturitas 1997;28:47-53.
Price K, Zhu X, Guimaraes PF, et al. Hormone replacement therapy diminishes hearing in peri-menopausal mice. Hear Res 2009;252:29-36.
Hederstierna C, Hultcrantz M, Collins A, et al. Hearing in women at menopause. Prevalence of hearing loss, audiometric configuration and relation to hormone replacement therapy. Acta Otolaryngol 2007;127:149-55.
Kilicdag EB, Yavuz H, Bagis T, et al. Effects of estrogen therapy on hearing in postmenopausal women. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2004;190:77-82.