Hearing impairment in essential tremor

William G. Ondo, L. Sutton, K. Dat Vuong, D. Lai, J. Jankovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess hearing in patients with essential tremor (ET) vs patients with Parkinson disease (PD) and normal controls. Methods: The authors assessed demographic and clinical information including use of hearing aids in 250 patients with ET, 127 patients with PD, and 127 normal controls. The authors administered the Nursing Home Hearing Handicap Index (NHHI), a validated measure of hearing disability. Regression techniques were used to adjust for factors such as age and sex. The authors assessed a complete audiologic evaluation in a subset of patients with ET. Results: Patients with ET had worse adjusted NHHI scores when compared to patients with PD (p < 0.001), controls (p < 0.001), and both (p < 0.001). A higher percentage of patients with ET also used hearing aids (p < 0.0001). In the ET group, hearing loss was associated with tremor severity (p = 0.02) and tended to be associated with older age (p = 0.06), male sex (p = 0.06), and the absence of dystonia (p = 0.18). Audiology testing was consistent with high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. Central processing was not disproportionally greater than peripheral loss. Conclusion: Patients with ET have increased hearing disability compared to patients with PD and normal controls, which correlates with tremor severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1097
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 28 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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