Dr. Robert D. Frisina, at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., led the team of researchers who conducted the study. The same researchers previously reported indications that hearing problems are associated with hormone replacement therapy. The results of this new research show that hearing problems occur in the inner ear, as well as in certain brain functions that affect hearing in women who take the combination of progestin with estrogen. The usual prescription for postmenopausal women who still have their uterus intact includes both progestin and estrogen. This is because progestin lowers the risk of developing endometrial cancer (a cancer that occurs in the lining of the uterus,) for this group of women.
The study, originally published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was reported in the Los Angeles Times. According to the Times article, Dr. Frisina urges women who use the progestin / estrogen combination therapy to have more hearing tests. Postmenopausal women who already have hearing loss may be especially concerned about the study results. Additionally, Dr. Frisina proposes that the possibility of hearing loss be included in the list of possible side effects caused by HRT so that women can make a more informed decision before choosing HRT.