Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

David Gee

Second Committee Member

Nicole Stendell-Hollis

Third Committee Member

Amie Wojtyna


Importance Hearing loss (HL) is a major public health problem that has been previously found to be associated with abnormal atherogenic markers.

Objective To investigate the associations between such atherogenic markers and the degree of HL using continuous NHANES data from cycle years 2011-2012 and 2015-2016.

Design, Study, and Participants This observational study used data from two National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycle years 2011-2012 and 2015-2016. NHANES continuously conducts data collection via home interviews and physical exams completed in their Mobile Examination Centers. NHANES participants ages 20-69 who partook in audiometry, anthropometric and laboratory testing were included. Data was analyzed from 2011-2012 and 2015-2016 cycle years.

Exposures Substantial hearing loss was defined as a HL degree of moderate (41-55dB) or higher at any frequency.

Main Outcomes and Measures Risk of hypercholesterolemia was defined as ≥ 240 mg/dL, hypoalphalipoproteinemia or low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol as < 40 mg/dL for males and < 50 mg/dL for females, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol as ≥ 160 mg/dL, hypertriglyceridemia was defined as ≥ 175 mg/dL, elevated levels of Apolipoprotein B as ≥ 130 mg/dL and elevated non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol as ≥ 190 mg/dL. Associations between abnormal atherogenic markers and substantial HL were determined in adjusted multivariate logistic regression models, t-tests and chi-square analysis.

Results Among 8955 participants there were significant associations between gender, age, BMI and race/ethnicity and substantial hearing loss (p

Conclusions and Relevance This study’s results showed no association between atherosclerosis markers and degree of hearing loss. However, due to conflicting findings of several studies on this topic, further research should be done to determine if lipid markers can affect hearing loss.