Cystic Fibrosis and Heightened Risk of Hearing Loss

Here’s What Our Own Dr. Fligor Shared in a Published Study

An estimated 40,000 people in the U.S. have cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder characterized by thick, sticky mucus buildup that can clog the lungs and other organs and cause serious respiratory, gastrointestinal, and reproductive problems. With the condition linked to a higher risk of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), our own Dr. Brian Fligor coauthored a study taking a closer look.

The 2016-released report, “Risk Factors for Hearing Loss in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis,” was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology and focused on a core question: What are key predictors of hearing loss development in those with cystic fibrosis? The answers add to an important body of knowledge that may help inform future research and health protocols.

Sensorineural hearing loss, the most common type of hearing loss, generally involves damage to the inner ear, the hearing nerve, or the sound-transmitting hair cells of the ear’s cochlea. Excess noise exposure is a typical source of SNHL, but factors including family history or certain medications — such as some standard cystic fibrosis therapies — could also contribute to the issue.


In the study, which analyzed the records of 178 people with cystic fibrosis who had received a hearing exam at Boston Children’s Hospital in the period 2007 to 2010, Dr. Fligor and fellow researchers found that among patients with cystic fibrosis:

  • Age and number of hospitalizations may be major predictors of hearing loss, with older age and more frequent hospitalizations linked to SNHL.
  • Clinical protocols should include improving awareness of sensorineural hearing loss and conducting regular hearing screenings, especially for higher-risk individuals.


The investigation reinforces the importance of periodic hearing screenings for early intervention. Routine monitoring of hearing health — similar to annual physicals or regular checkups for vision and dental wellness — can go a long way toward identifying and addressing potential problems quickly for an improved quality of life.


At Tobias & Battite, our highly trained hearing care professionals focus on proactive prevention, comprehensive diagnostics, and effective treatment to optimize your hearing health. If you or a loved one has cystic fibrosis or difficulty hearing, please don’t wait. Contact us to book a personalized hearing consultation today. We’re HEAR to help!

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