Document Type


Date of Original Version



Pharmacy Practice


Background - Little is known about hearing loss in children with HIV infection (HIV+). We examined the prevalence of hearing loss in perinatally HIV+ and HIV-exposed but uninfected (HEU) children, compared these to the percentage with hearing loss in the general population, and evaluated possible risk factors for hearing loss in HIV+ and HEU children.

Methods - Audiometric examinations were completed in children who met any pre-specified criteria for possible hearing loss. The hearing examination consisted of a tympanogram in each ear and pure-tone air-conduction threshold testing from 500 through 4000 Hz. Hearing loss was defined as the pure-tone average over these frequencies ≥20 dB hearing level (HL). The associations of demographic, parent/caregiver, HIV disease, and HIV treatment with hearing loss were evaluated with univariate and multivariable logistic regression models.

Results - Hearing testing was completed in 231 children (145 HIV+ and 86 HEU). Hearing loss occurred in 20.0% of HIV+ children and 10.5% of HEU children. After adjusting for caregiver education level, HIV infection was associated with increased odds of hearing loss [adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.13, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.95–4.76, p=0.07]. Among HIV+ children, those with a CDC Class C diagnosis had over twice the odds of hearing loss (aOR=2.47, 95% CI: 1.04– 5.87, p=0.04). The prevalence of hearing loss was higher in both HIV+ and HEU children compared with NHANES III children.

Conclusions - Hearing loss was more common in both HIV+ and HEU children than in healthy children. More advanced HIV illness increased the risk of hearing loss in HIV+ children.