Audiological and Otological Symptoms in adults with HIV APRIL 2011

Audiological and Otological Symptoms in adults with HIV APRIL 2011
APRIL 2011
Audiological and Otological
APRIL 2011
Symptoms in adults with HIV
Submitted in fulfillment of part
of the requirements for the
degree of Master in
Communication Pathology in
the Department of
Communication Pathology
Faculty of Humanities
University of Pretoria
Pretoria
Yolandé van der Westhuizen
i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
With much appreciation I thank:
Prof. De Wet Swanepoel, my supervisor- for hours of assistance, help, advice and
sharing your expertise. Thank you for encouragement when I needed it most, advise in
terms of my career and being an inspiration. I will never forget how grateful I was to see
a familiar face when presenting at my first international conference. Most of all, thank
you for igniting my love for research.
Barbara Heinze, my co-supervisor - for your friendship, opinion, assistance, advice, your
expertise and listening ear - I thank you.
Charl, my companion and best friend – for your words of encouragement, late night
advice, making tea, helping at the practice, believing in me and endless support, most of
all thank you for your truly unconditional love, you have no idea…
Louis and Annamarie van der Westhuizen – my parents for your support, sacrifices and
opportunities throughout the years, thank you for always wanting the best for me and
giving the best, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the education and endless
love from you. Thank you for teaching me the discipline to succeed in whatever I take
on, thank you for giving me the freedom to develop my interests and skills with your
support and encouragement.
Dr. Mike van der Linde and Dr. Legesse Debusho – for your assistance with the
statistical analyses, your patience, your professionalism and expertise is much
appreciated.
Mr. Herman Tesner, for the language editing – Thank you for your prompt help,
thorough work, advice and expertise!
The 1 Military Hospital, in particular the nursing staff at the infectious disease clinic staff
in the audiology department, Bonita and Vija and ENT department, Dr. Louis Hofmeyr
for continuous help and advice.
Family and friends – for endless support, caring, phone calls, quick visits. Thank you for
being there when I needed you most!
Joey Kriek, my receptionist at my practice – for handling matters with such grace when I
couldn’t be there. For the peace of mind I could have when I knew my practice was in
good hands.
The centre for the study of AIDS (CSA), University of Pretoria for partial funding of this
project.
The faculty of humanities research committee, for funding my travel to the International
Conference of Audiology in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The medical research council (MRC) for their contribution to present my research at the
International congress of audiology, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
My heavenly Father. Lord, thank You for talents, opportunities and grace. Without You
I would be nothing in nowhere.
ii
SUMMARY
_________________________________________________________________________
Objectives: The aim of the study was to describe the prevalence and nature of
auditory and otological manifestations in adults with HIV/AIDS according to clinical
examinations and self-reported symptoms. Auditory profiles of HIV individuals were
compared to that of a matched control group.
Study design: A descriptive, cross-sectional group design was utilized in the first
section of the study while a comparative, control matched research design was used
to compare the HIV group and matched control group.
Methods: Two hundred HIV positive adult patients attending the Infectious Disease
Clinic of the 1 Military Hospital were included through convenience sampling.
Participants were interviewed, medical files were reviewed and clinical examinations,
including otoscopy, tympanometry, pure tone audiometry and distortion product otoacoustic emissions, were completed.
A control group of 184 individuals were
compiled, matched to 184 of the HIV infected participants according to age, gender,
ethnicity as well as working environment. Audiological thresholds at 0.5kHz – 4kHz
were compared among these groups.
Results: A prevalence of self-reported tinnitus (26%), vertigo (25%) hearing loss
(27.5%), otalgia (19%) and pruritis (38%) was recorded. The onset of hearing loss
was reported to be mostly (82%) of a slow progressive nature. Abnormalities in
tympanometry, otoscopy and oto acoustic emissions were found in respectively 41%,
55% and 44% of participants. Hearing loss greater than 25 dB (PTA) was recorded
in 14% of participants compared to 39% for hearing loss greater than 15 dB (PTA).
Although not statistically significant (p<.05), self reported vertigo, self reported
hearing loss, OAE abnormalities, hearing loss (PTA>15dB and PTA>25dB) and
occurrence of mild hearing loss occurred throughout the CDC categories which were
used as a measure of disease progression. A statistically significant increase (p<.05)
in sensorineural hearing loss was seen with disease progression. In the comparative
section, statistically significant (p<.05) worse thresholds were found in the HIV group
as opposed to the control group at all frequencies (0.5 kHz – 4 kHz).
iii
Conclusions: Auditory and otological symptoms occurred frequently in this sample,
while an increase in some symptoms as well as hearing loss was seen throughout
disease progression. Sensorineural hearing loss increased significantly through
disease progression. Hearing loss occurred more frequently in HIV individuals as
opposed to individuals in the control group, while hearing loss occur more frequently
in the more advanced stages of HIV infection.
Keywords: Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immunodeficiency
Syndrome (AIDS), hearing loss, auditory symptoms, otological symptoms, hearing
loss, audiometric thresholds, control matched study.
iv
Table of content
_____________________________________________
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ii
SUMMARY
iii
TABLE OF CONTENT
v
LIST OF APPENDICES
ix
LIST OF TABLES
x
LIST OF FIGURES
xii
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
xiv
CHAPTER 1:
INTRODUCTION AND ORIENTATION TO THE RESEARCH
PROBLEM
1
1.1 Introduction
1
1.2 Background and rationale
4
1.3 Problem statement
7
1.4 Terminology and abbreviations
8
1.5 Outline of chapters
9
1.6 Conclusion
10
CHAPTER 2:
HIV AND ITS AUDIOLOGICAL MANIFESTATIONS
12
2.1 Introduction
12
2.2 History of HIV
13
2.3 Pathophysiology of HIV
14
2.4 Diagnosis of HIV and AIDS
15
2.5 Classification and staging of HIV/AIDS
15
2.5.1 Centres for disease control (CDC) 1994 classification system
16
2.5.2 WHO 2007 classification of HIV/AIDS
18
2.6 Symptoms and progression of HIV
22
2.7 Treatment of HIV
25
2.8 HIV associated auditory dysfunction
28
2.8.1 Prevalence of auditory dysfunction in HIV
29
2.8.2 Mechanisms of auditory dysfunction in HIV
31
2.8.3 Auditory dysfunction associated with the direct effects of HIV
31
v
2.8.4 Auditory dysfunction associated with opportunistic infections
34
2.8.4.1
Conductive hearing loss (CHL)
36
2.8.4.2
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL)
42
2.8.5 HIV/AIDS related ototoxicity
46
2.8.5.1 HAART
46
2.8.5.2 Treatment for opportunistic infections
49
2.9 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3:
50
METHODOLOGY
52
3.1 Introduction
52
3.2 Research aims
52
3.3 Research design
53
3.4 Ethical considerations
54
3.4.1 Protection from harm
54
3.4.2 Informed consent
55
3.4.3 Voluntary participation
55
3.4.4 Confidentiality / right to privacy
56
3.4.5 Honesty towards participants and professional colleagues
56
3.4.6 Actions and competency of researchers
56
3.4.7 Co-operation with contributors
57
3.4.8 Release or publication of the findings
57
3.5 Participants
58
3.5.1 Selection criteria
58
3.5.2 Selection procedure
59
3.5.2.1 Selection procedure for the HIV group
59
3.5.2.2 Selection procedure for the control group
60
3.5.3 Sample size and description of sample
3.6 Material and apparatus
60
62
3.6.1 Material and apparatus for Infection control
63
3.6.2 Material and apparatus for data collection
64
3.6.3 Material and apparatus for data capturing, processing and analysis 68
3.7 Pilot study
69
3.8 Research procedures
69
vi
3.8.1 Data collection procedures
69
3.8.1.1
Interviews
69
3.8.1.2
Medical records
70
3.8.1.3
Otoscopic examination
70
3.8.1.4
Tympanometry
71
3.8.1.5
Pure tone audiometry
73
3.8.1.6
Distortion product oto-acoustic emission testing
75
3.8.2 Data recording procedures
77
3.8.3 Data analysis procedures
77
3.9 Reliability and validity
78
3.9.1
Reliability
78
3.9.2
Validity
80
3.10 Conclusion
83
CHAPTER 4:
84
RESULTS
4.1 Introduction
84
4.2 Sum aim 1: The prevalence of auditory manifestations
84
4.2.1 Symptoms of otalgia, pruritis, tinnitus and vertigo
84
4.2.2 Otoscopic examinations
87
4.2.3 Tympanometry
90
4.2.4 Pure tone audiometry
91
4.2.5 Otoacoustic emissions
95
4.3 Sub aim 2: Characteristics of hearing loss
99
4.3.1 Types and laterality of hearing loss in this sample
99
4.3.2 Degree of hearing loss in the sample
101
4.3.3 Onset of hearing loss
102
4.3.4 Characteristics of hearing loss as a function of CD4+ count
106
4.4 Sub aim 3: Comparing a HIV and matched control group
107
4.4.1 Prevalence of hearing loss
107
4.4.2 Degree of hearing loss
107
4.4.3 Average thresholds
110
4.4.4 Interactions
112
4.5 Conclusion
113
vii
CHAPTER 5:
DISCUSSION
5.1 Introduction
115
5.2 Discussion of research findings
115
5.2.1 Auditory and otological symptoms
115
5.2.2 Otoscopic examination
120
5.2.3 Tympanometry
121
5.2.4 Pure tone audiometry
122
5.2 5 Otoacoustic emissions
126
5.3 Characteristics of hearing loss
126
5.3.1 Types and laterality of hearing loss
126
5.3.2 Degrees of hearing loss
128
5.3.3 Configuration of hearing loss
128
5.3.4 Onset of self-reported hearing loss
130
5.4 Comparing audiometric thresholds across the HIV and matched
control group
5.5 Conclusion
CHAPTER 6:
130
132
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
133
6.1 Introduction
133
6.2 Conclusions
134
6.3 Theoretical and Clinical Implications
137
6.4 Critical Evaluation of this Study
140
6.5 Recommendations for future research
142
6.6 Conclusion
143
REFERENCES
144
viii
List of appendices
___________________________________________________________________
APPENDIX A: Ethical clearance – University of Pretoria faculty research
committee
161
APPENDIX B: Ethical clearance - 1 Military Hospital research committee
162
APPENDIX C: Letter of informed consent
164
APPENDIX D: Data capturing sheet: 1 Military Hospital
165
APPENDIX E: Informative posters
171
APPENDIX F: Informative pamphlets
173
APPENDIX G: Interview question list
175
APPENDIX H: Medical file checklist
176
APPENDIX I: Data collection excel sheet
177
APPENDIX J: Standard working procedure – 1 Military hospital
181
ix
List of tables
___________________________________________________________________
Table 2.1:
Classification of HIV infection
16
Table 2.2:
Classification of CD4+T-Lymphocyte counts
16
Table 2.3:
Classification of Clinical conditions associated with HIV
infection
17
Table 2.4:
WHO clinical staging of established HIV infection
20
Table 2.5:
Immunological classification
21
Table 2.6:
Cut-off for CD4+ T-cells, above which particular AIDS illnesses are
improbable
Table 2.7:
Type of hearing loss associated with opportunistic infections
Table 2.8:
Studies providing data on the prevalence of Otitis media in HIV
infected individuals
Table 2.9:
35
35
40
Ototoxic medication prescribed for the treatment of opportunistic
infections
49
Table 3.1:
Selection criteria for the HIV group
58
Table 3.2:
Selection criteria for the control group
59
Table 3.3:
Description of HIV group
60
Table 3.4:
Matching of participants in the HIV and control groups
62
Table 3.5:
Interview questions and reasons for inclusion
66
Table 3.6:
Medical file checklist
67
Table 3.7:
The protocol, relevance and clinical application of otoscopic
examination
70
Table 3.8:
Interpretation of the otoscopic examination
71
Table 3.9:
Tympanometric protocols, relevance and clinical applications
71
x
Table 3.10: Interpretation of tympanometric measurements
72
Table 3.11: Interpretation of pure tone results
75
Table 3.12: Protocol for eliciting distortion product oto-acoustic emissions
76
Table 3.13: Interpretation of distortion product oto-acoustic emissions
76
Table 4.1:
Otoscopic results indicating combination pathologies
88
Table 4.2:
Effect size across frequency range in comparing thresholds
of participants with self reported hearing loss and without
104
Table 4.3
Effect size across frequency range in HIV and control group
112
Table 4.4
Probability values for the interaction between gender, age and
HIV status
113
Table 5.1:
General causes of otalgia
118
Table 5.2:
Causes of otorrhea
120
Table 5.3:
Auditory manifestations in HIV/AIDS: Review of published
reports (excluding single-case reports)
124
xi
List of figures
___________________________________________________________________
Figure 1.1:
The mechanisms of auditory dysfunction in HIV/AIDS
4
Figure 3.1:
Aims and research design
54
Figure 4.1:
The prevalence of otological symptoms
85
Figure 4.2:
Self reported tinnitus frequency
85
Figure 4.3:
Self-reported vertigo frequency
86
Figure 4.4:
Otological symptoms findings across CDC categories
87
Figure 4.5:
Otoscopic examinations per ear
87
Figure 4.6:
Otoscopic findings
89
Figure 4.7:
Otoscopic abnormalities across CDC categories
89
Figure 4.8:
Tympanometry results per ear
90
Figure 4.9:
Tympanometric results
90
Figure 4.10: Tympanometric results across CDC categories
91
Figure 4.11: Prevalence of hearing loss in left and right ears
92
Figure 4.12: Unilateral and bilateral hearing losses greater than 25dB
92
Figure 4.13: Distribution of pure tone averages, low frequency averages and
high frequency averages
93
Figure 4.14: Hearing loss (PTA>25dB) across CDC categories
94
Figure 4.15: Hearing loss across CDC categories
95
Figure 4.16: OAE findings in left ears
95
Figure 4.17: OAE findings in left ears across CDC categories
96
Figure 4.18: OAE findings in right ears across CDC categories
97
Figure 4.19: Hearing loss (PTA>15dB; PTA>25dB) and OAE findings in left
ears across CDC categories
98
xii
Figure 4.20: Hearing loss (PTA>15dB; PTA>25dB) and OAE findings in right
ears across CDC categories
98
Figure 4.21: Type and laterality of hearing loss (PTA>15dB)
100
Figure 4.22: Type of hearing loss across CDC categories
101
Figure 4.23: Degree of hearing loss per ear
102
Figure 4.24: Self-reported hearing difficulty
103
Figure 4.25: Average audiograms for participants with no self reported hearing
loss and some self reported hearing loss in the left ears
103
Figure 4.26: Average audiograms for participants with no self reported hearing
loss and some self reported hearing loss in the right ears
104
Figure 4.27: Average audiograms of individuals with and without hearing loss
in left ears
105
Figure 4.28: Average audiograms of individuals with and without hearing
loss in right ears
105
Figure 4.29: Degree of hearing loss across CDC categories
106
Figure 4.30: Prevalence of hearing loss in the HIV and control group
108
Figure 4.31: Degree of hearing loss in the right ears of the HIV and control
groups
109
Figure 4.32: Degree of hearing loss in the left ears of the HIV and control group 109
Figure 4.33: Mean control and HIV group pure tone thresholds in the left ears
110
Figure 4.34: Mean control and HIV group pure tone thresholds in the right ears
111
Figure 5.1:
129
Average audiograms in studies in adults with HIV/AIDS
xiii
List of abbreviations
___________________________________________________________________
HIV:
Human immune deficiency virus
AIDS:
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
ART:
Antiretroviral treatment
HAART:
Highly active antiretroviral treatment
WHO:
World Health Organization
OHCHR:
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
ABR:
Auditory brainstem response
CNS:
Central nervous system
ARV:
Antiretroviral
NRTI:
Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
ASHA:
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
CD4+:
Cluster difference 4 cells
CDC:
Centers for disease control
NNRTI:
Non-nucleoside/tide reverse transcriptase inhibitors
PI:
Protease inhibitors
FI:
Fusion inhibitors
ZDV:
Zidovudine
ddI
Didasonine
ddC:
Zalcitabine
3TC:
Lamivudine
d4T:
Stavudine
ABC:
Abacavir
FTC:
Emtricitabine
xiv
TDF:
Tenofovir
EFZ:
Efavirens
NVP:
Nevirapine
DLV:
Delavirdine
SNHL:
Sensoineural hearing loss
CHL:
Conductive hearing loss
EP:
Evoked potentials
NIH:
National Institutes of Health
MDR:
Multiple drug resistant
DPOAE:
Distortion product otoacoustic emission
PTA:
Pure tone average
LFA:
Low frequency average
HFA:
High frequency average
DP:
Distortion product
NF:
Noise floor
xv
CHAPTER 1
Introduction and orientation to the research problem
___________________________________________________________________
“…the AIDS pandemic is the most severe and catastrophic infectious
disease pandemic in the modern era.” (Chin, 2007:1)
1.1
Introduction
Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes the
development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a major worldwide
public healthcare concern with approximately 33.3 million infected individuals
worldwide (UNAIDS 2010). The Report On The Global AIDS Pandemic (UNAIDS
2010) states that in spite of the HIV epidemic stabilizing globally, unacceptably high
levels of new infections and AIDS deaths has persisted. Sub-Saharan Africa shows
the largest burden of infection worldwide, while the epidemic is especially severe in
Southern Africa with an estimated 1.8 million newly infected individuals during 2009
and a total of 22.5 million individuals in this region living with HIV. This population
accounts for 69% of HIV-infected individuals worldwide (UNAIDS, 2010).
Data from antenatal clinics in South Africa suggests that South Africa’s epidemic may
be stabilizing, but that no major changes in HIV statistics is evident (Department of
Health South Africa, 2009). Approximately 5.7 million South Africans are living with
HIV today, making South Africa the country with the largest HIV epidemic in the world
(UNAIDS 2010).
HIV is considered one of the most, if not the most severe and catastrophic diseases
of the modern era. It is contracted through exposure to any of several body fluids
containing infected cells such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, saliva and breast
milk (UNAIDS 2008). The main modes of HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa as
reported by UNAIDS (2008) remains heterosexual intercourse in serodiscordant
couples (where initially only one partner was infected), sex work/prostitution,
injection-drug use and homosexual intercourse between men. No cure has been
1
developed to date and HIV continues to contribute significantly to mortality
worldwide. Since the breakthrough in pharmaceutical treatment of HIV through
antiretroviral treatment (ART) however, life expectancy of patients has improved
significantly (UNAIDS, WHO & OHCHR, 2009). Access to ART is increasing in
resource-limited settings and has proven to successfully reduce HIV related morbidity
and mortality (Steegen, Luchters, Dauwe, Reynaerts, Mandaliya, Jaoko, Plum,
Temmerman & Verhofstede, 2009).
Although the focus of research and discussion was initially – and continues to be –
largely on mortality as a result of HIV/AIDS, it is increasingly necessary to consider
the implications for society, national costs of medical care, the direction of the
national health care policy, possible loss of a productive work force as well as the
impact of this epidemic on the quality of life of individuals. This, especially in lieu of
increased life-expectancy due to Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). In a
policy brief document (UNAIDS, WHO & OHCHR, 2009), collectively complied by
UNAIDS, The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the relationship between HIV and
disability is recognised and the insufficient attention that this issue has received is
emphasised. This policy document acknowledges that individuals living with HIV are
at risk of developing impairments and disabilities due to the disease itself as well as
to the side effects of certain treatment regimes.
Many impairments and disabilities caused by HIV/AIDS may potentially have a
devastating influence on quality of life. These may include biomedical, psychosocial
spiritual and emotional well-being (Mngadi, 2003). The WHO defines quality of life as
the perception of an individual regarding their position in life, this perception is within
the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and relates to their
goals, expectations, standards and concerns (Wig, Lekshmi, Hemraj, Ahuja, Mittal &
Agarwal, 2006). One of the numerous impairments and effects of HIV on the human
body is disorders of the auditory system resulting in hearing loss (Bankaitis & Keith,
1995; Khoza & Ross, 2002; Madriz & Herrera, 1995; Marra, Wechkin, Longstreth,
Rees, Syapin, & Gates, 1997; Matas, Magliaro & Goncalves, 2006; Moazzez & Alvi,
1998; Roland, Alexiades, Jackman, Hillman & Shapiro, 2003). Hearing loss is well
2
known to cause a decrease in quality of life which often has far reaching implications
(Dalton, Cruickshanks, Klein, Wiley & Nondahl, 2003). The extent of its effect on
quality of life has shown to be directly dependent on the severity of the hearing loss
(Dalton et al., 2003).
Various factors caused by hearing loss may possibly influence quality of life and may
include: poor communication, social isolation and withdrawal, depression, dementia,
frustration, decreased functional status and maladaptive behaviour (Chew & Yeak,
2010; Dalton et al., 2003). Frustration as a result of hearing loss is not limited to the
affected person only, but also extends to family and people dealing with this
individual (Dalton et al., 2003). The extent of the effects of hearing loss on quality of
life emphasizes the importance of early treatment by healthcare professionals in
order to prevent and minimize these effects as well as to positively impact quality of
life for these individuals and their families.
HIV manifestations occur in the head and neck region in up to 71% of cases and a
growing body of research is demonstrating auditory pathology relating to HIV
(Lalwani & Sooy, 1992; Real, Thomas & Gerwins, 1987; Bankaitis & Keith, 1995;
Khoza & Ross, 2002; Madriz & Herrera, 1995; Marra et al., 1997; Matas et al., 2006;
Moazzez & Alvi, 1998; Roland et al., 2003). As many as 75% of adults living with HIV
are reported to experience, at some point in time, auditory dysfunction secondary to
HIV infection (Zuniga, 1999). The exact prevalence and mechanisms of auditory
dysfunction remain unclear to date and poses challenges in the assessment,
treatment and monitoring of these individuals.
The Disability and HIV Policy Brief (UNAIDS, WHO & OHCHR, 2009) recommends
that rehabilitation professionals play a role in assessing and addressing the complex
impairments with which HIV infected individuals are faced. In order for the hearing
care professional to appropriately assess, treat, manage and monitor these patients,
more information is needed on the prevalence and mechanisms of auditory
dysfunction in these patients. HIV-infected individuals as well as health care
providers should also be educated regarding the possible manifestations on the
auditory system as a result of HIV/AIDS. This awareness might lead to earlier
3
detection of auditory dysfunction which in turn may lead to appropriate treatment and
possibly more effective treatment outcomes.
1.2
Background and rationale
HIV infects the CD4+T immune system cells which play an important
important role in the
immune response to both HIV infection and other infectious organisms. HIV infection
causes a decline in CD4+T cell levels in the blood. Typically an individual infected
with HIV will go through different stages of the illness which is closely
closely related to the
decrease in CD4+ count. This immunodeficiency can be measured by the CD4+
count and it also acts as indicator of the progression
progression of the disease (WHO 2007).
When the CD4+ count falls below 200/mm³, the individual is classified as being in the
final stage of immunodeficiency or AIDS (Newton, 2006; Hoffmann, Rockstroh &
Kamps,
2007).
Individuals
in
this
category
are
classified
as
severely
immunocompromised and becomes particularly susceptible to various opportunistic
infections and symptoms such as pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, toxoplasmosis,
tuberculosis, extreme weight loss, meningitis, fungal infections, syphilis, Kaposi’s
sarcoma, malignancies such as lymphoma and cervical cancer (Newton, 2006). The
mechanisms of auditory dysfunction in HIV are important to consider as causes of
hearing impairment seeing that this knowledge might assist in developing strategies
to limit or counteract its effects on the auditory system. Figure 1.1 illustrates the
different mechanisms of auditory dysfunction in HIV/AIDS.
Figure 1.1: Mechanisms of auditory dysfunction in HIV/AIDS (Adapted from
Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010).
4
Direct effects of HIV on the peripheral and central auditory nervous system has been
confirmed with abnormalities measured by auditory evoked potentials such as
auditory brainstem response (ABR) across a variety of age groups (Birchall, Wight,
French, Cockbain & Smith,1992; Matas et al., 2006 ; Vigliano, Russo, Arfelli, Boffi,
Bonassi, Gandione, Rigardetto, 1997). Although the exact mechanism of central
nervous system (CNS) damage is not known (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010), direct
effects possibly include initial changes in the CNS such as sub cortical demyelination
and local demyelination due to infection of the glial and neurological cells. These
initial changes cause brainstem auditory evoked potentials to be abnormal in the
earliest stages of HIV infection before any significant clinical manifestations are
observed (Reyes-Contreras, Silva-Rojas, Ysunza-Riviera, Jimenez-Ruiz, BerruecosVillalobos & Romo-Guitierrez, 2002). Neuro-pathologic changes occur due to HIV in
a large percentage of infected individuals and a delay in the waves of the auditory
brainstem response (ABR) may be observed in absolute latencies of Wave III and V
as well as inter-peak latencies of waves III to V and I to V in the ABR (Bankaitis &
Keith, 1995; Madriz & Herrera, 1995; Reyes-Contreras et al., 2002). HIV has been
reported to affect the structure and functioning of white matter tracts and systems
(Thompson, Dutton, Khayashi, Toga, Lopez, Aizenstein & Becker, 2005; Woods,
Moore, Weber, & Grant, 2009). The virus may cause direct synaptodendritic injury or
even indirect injury through inflammation (Hult, Chasna & Masliah, 2008 ; Woods et
al, 2009).
Cases of HIV/AIDS have also been associated with CNS morbidity in frontal brain
regions (Fein, Biggins & MacKay, 1995; Woods et al, 2009), producing abnormal
P300 auditory evoked potentials (Bauer, 2008) which are associated with cortical,
sub cortical and AIDS related dementia. HIV-associated neuro-cognitive disorders
such as AIDS related dementia are highly prevalent (Woods et al., 2009). The
relationship between the P300 response and HIV-infected individuals have been
investigated, however not confirmed, and various studies have shown an increase in
the latencies of the P300 response in HIV-infected individuals (Bankaitis & Keith,
1995; Bauer, 2008; Fein et al.1995; Woods et al., 2009).
5
Opportunistic infections occur due to severe immunodeficiency caused by HIV/AIDS,
but rarely in healthy individuals (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010). Various opportunistic
infections may result in hearing loss and may include the following: otitis media,
cholesteatoma, otosyphyllis, cytamegalovirus, herpes zoster virus and meningitis
(Bankaitis & Keith, 1995; Zuniga 1999; Chandrasekhar, Connelly, Brahmbhatt, Shah,
Kloser & Baredes, 2000). Hearing loss due to opportunistic infections can be both
conductive and sensorineural in nature.
Another important factor in hearing loss related to HIV/AIDS is ototoxicity. This is due
to two primary causes, including antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV infection
(HAART) and aminoglycosides administered for opportunistic infections. Firstly,
HAART typically incorporates experimental drugs which include high dosages and
combinations of drugs which are potentially a contributing factor to audiological
changes such as hearing loss (Bankaitis & Keith, 1995). A variety of antiretroviral
drugs has been reported to cause ototoxic hearing loss and it is speculated that
these drugs cause direct damage to the mitochondrial DNA (Christensen,
Morehouse, Powell, Alchediak, & Silio, 1998; Simdon, Watter, Bartlett, & Connick,
2001; Vogeser, Colebunders, Depraetere, Van Wanzeele, & Gehuchten, 1998;
Newton 2006; Shibuyama, Gevorkan, Yoo, Tim, Dzhangiryan & Scott, 2006).
Evidence shows that ototoxicity in ART have mainly originated from the ARV drug
class known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI’s) (Rey, Heritier &
Lang, 2002; Simdon et al., 2001, Christensen et al, 1998; Marra et al, 1997).
However, various factors such as age, dosage, combinations and noise exposure
influence the potential ototoxic effect of these drugs.
The second route for ototoxicity related to HIV/AIDS is through the treatment of
various opportunistic infections which often includes ototoxic medications including
antibiotics, antifungal agents and antiviral agents (Newton 2006). A well known
example of this is the treatment of tuberculosis which includes aminoglycosides such
as kanamycin, amakacin and streptomycin and is well known to cause significant
hearing loss during treatment (De Jager & Van Altena, 2002). The National Institutes
of Health’s Opportunistic Infections Working Group, under the supervision of the
6
Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council developed guidelines for the treatment of
opportunistic infections (Kaplan, Benson, Holmes, Brooks, Pau & Masur, 2009).
These treatment guidelines include an array of potentially ototoxic aminoglycosides.
These reported direct and indirect as well as central and peripheral effects on the
auditory system pose significant challenges for the audiologist, especially in terms of
the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with HIV. According to the
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) (2004), the role of the
audiologist includes prevention, identification, assessment, rehabilitation, advocacy
and research. Considering the scope of practice stated above it is clear that the
audiologist should play a vital role in the management of patients with HIV.
1.3
Problem statement
Emerging evidence indicates that HIV/AIDS has substantial influence the auditory
system of HIV-infected individual (Bankaitis & Keith, 1995; Khoza & Ross, 2002;
Madriz & Herrera, 1995; Marra et al., 1997; Matas et al., 2006; Moazzez & Alvi, 1998;
Roland et al., 2003). The prevalence and effect of auditory manifestations has
however not been confirmed in terms of the extent and nature of the various
influencing factors while it is also not clear what the relationships are between the
progression of the disease and the severity of audiological manifestations (Stearn &
Swanepoel, 2010; Friedman & Noffsinger, 1998; Gold & Tami, 1998; Bankaitis,
2006). In addition, the interrelatedness and cascading effect of the different factors
influencing the auditory system such as the CD4+ count, age, ARV treatment,
treatment for opportunistic infections and individual susceptibility remain unclear.
Audiological manifestations of HIV/AIDS are an area of investigation that has been
previously neglected in developing countries such as South Africa and there is a
need for local, intensified research in this field (Khoza-Shangase, 2010).
Comparative and experimental research designs might also prove to be helpful to
fully understand the extent of auditory manifestations in individuals with HIV. Such
knowledge may increase the likelihood of appropriate assessments and management
(Noffsinger & Friedman, 1996). With limited research in this growing population and
the heterogeneity in available research results and methodological approaches in this
7
field (Khoza-Shangase, 2010), it is necessary for large cohort studies and matchedcontrol group research in this field. Such findings would contribute to a more
consolidated body of evidence which could be effectively used in policy promotion,
programme design, implementation and improvement of the efficacy of clinical
practice
(Khosa-Shangase,
2010).
Subsequently,
the
research
questions
investigated in this project are:
•
What is the prevalence and nature of auditory symptoms in the adult HIVpositive population?
•
Is there a difference between the prevalence and nature of hearing loss in
adults with HIV/AIDS compared to a matched control group without HIV?
1.4
Terminology and abbreviations
The following section provides the definitions of certain abbreviations and terms used
in this report.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a highly contagious, RNA enveloped
virus (Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006) which remains in the infected individual and
gradually attacks the immune system over a period of time and eventually leads to
the terminal illness, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Webber, 2010).
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome occurs in the final stages of HIV infection.
As soon as the level of CD4+ T-cells has decreased to such an extent that the
immune system of the infected individual is weakened and susceptible to an array of
opportunistic infections, AIDS is diagnosed (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
Cluster difference 4 cells (CD4+ Cells)
CD4+ cells are T-lymphocyte cells that develop in bone-marrow. These cells interact
with peptides agents and produce cytokines in reaction to the engagement to
accessory cells to provide the necessary equivalent and soluble signals to ensure the
production of antibodies. The CD4+ cells destroy extra-cellular pathogens by binding
8
to the foreign agent and initiating the immune response (Schountz & Bankaitis,
1998).
Opportunistic infections (OI)
Opportunistic infections are often defined as AIDS defining illnesses due to the fact
that these infections take the opportunity to infect a severely immuno-compromised
body (Schountz & Bankaitis, 1998). HIV in its advanced stages is often associated
with the manifestation of opportunistic infections (Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006). The
occurrence of opportunistic infections often marks the onset of AIDS.
Antiretroviral treatment (ART); antiretroviral (ARV); highly active antiretroviral
treatment (HAART)
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the medical treatment commonly administered for the
treatment of HIV/AIDS. ART provides viral suppression, it shortens the symptomatic
viral illness, reduces the number of infected cells, preserves the immune system
(CD4+ cells) and stabilizes a lowered viral count in the long term (Hoffmann, et al.
2007). Limited success is achieved with single drug use; combinations of these drugs
have proved to be highly successful in dramatically changing the course of the
disease and improving immunity significantly. These combination drugs are referred
to as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
1.5
Outline of chapters
Chapter 1: Introduction and orientation
This chapter serves as introduction to the research field and research project by
providing background on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and a brief but systematic overview
of the significant manifestations of HIV on the human auditory system. It briefly
touches on the significance of the role of the hearing care professional in the
management of HIV-infected individuals. It also sketches the context in which the
problem exists. The rationale for this research was provided with the problem
statement leading to the research question.
9
Chapter 2: HIV and its audiological manifestations
This chapter provides the theoretical underpinnings for the empirical research and
provides a critical evaluation and interpretation of the relevant literature. The theory
underlying to the HIV pandemic is discussed, as well as the classification system
used for HIV infection. Subsequently, the audiological manifestations of HIV are
discussed in order to explain the existing literature in this regard.
Chapter 3: Research method
Chapter 3 provides information on the methodological approach implemented in
conducting the empirical research component of this study. The main aim and subaims of study are presented and discussed. The overall structure of the research
design is described as well as the material, apparatus and procedure used for the
collection, capturing and processing of the data. Ethical considerations are
discussed, as well as the measures implemented to ensure the reliability and validity
of the study.
Chapter 4: Results and discussion
This chapter presents the results obtained through statistical analyses, followed by a
thorough description, interpretation and discussion of these results' value and
meaning in relation to existing literature. The results are presented to correspond
with sub-aims as set out in Chapter 3.
Chapter 5: Conclusions and implications
Chapter 5 summarizes the results obtained and provides an outline of the significant
results and how they contribute to literature. Recommendations for future research
are provided, the limitations of the study are discussed and the conclusion provides a
summary of all aspects discussed in this report.
1.6
Conclusion
HIV-infection is not only a life-threatening illness, but has now become a chronic,
manageable illness which poses various challenges in terms of quality of life of
infected individuals who now have increased life-expectancy. Although evidence
states that manifestations of this infection on the auditory system are significant,
10
limited heterogenic literature exists regarding its exact nature. This situation has
caused a need for systematic and intensified research in this regard. This chapter
serves to introduce the research and to also substantiate its importance in the field of
Audiology. It provides background on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and a brief but
systematic overview of the significant manifestations of HIV on the human auditory
system and discusses the potential roles of the audiologist in the management of
HIV-infected individuals. It also sketches the context in which the problem exists as
well as the background and rationale for this study. The problem statement and
research question of this study are discussed and delineates the purpose of the
study as well as the reasoning behind it. The next chapter provides a thorough
discussion regarding HIV/AIDS, the immune system, as well as the known
manifestations of HIV on the auditory system.
11
CHAPTER 2
HIV and its audiological manifestations
“Almost from the time it was first described 25 years ago in the USA, AIDS has
outstripped our worst fears and predictions. This disease has become one of the makeor-break issues of our times, on par with global climate change and the persistence of
mass, extreme poverty” (Beck, Mays, Whiteside & Zuniga, 2006:v).
“The HIV/AIDS epidemic will have devastating consequences in the decades to come
for virtually every sector of society…” (UN, 2004:1).
2.1
Introduction
Since the first diagnosis of AIDS in 1981 (Beck et al., 2006), HIV took the world by
storm and few initially realized the extreme scope and the enormity of this illness. It is
now 30 years later and more than 25 million people have died of AIDS. During 2008
alone, an estimate of 2 million people died of AIDS while 2.7 million people became
newly infected. HIV has become a global pandemic and approximately 33.4 million
people are living with HIV today (UNAIDS, 2009).
HIV manifests itself in numerous systems in the body of the immunosuppressed
patient and has various clinical manifestations such as opportunistic infections
(Hoffmann et al. 2007). Some of these manifestations have been researched
extensively; however, some areas of research, such as the relationship between HIV
and the auditory system have been neglected to some degree. Although there are
reports that HIV has a definite effect on the human auditory system, directly or
indirectly, few corroborating studies are available and those that have been done
report a range of findings demonstrating great variation (Lubbe, 2004; Matas et al.,
2006; Khoza & Ross, 2002; Chandrasekhar et al., 2000).
The purpose of this chapter is to provide thorough theoretical underpinnings
regarding the history, pathophysiology, diagnosis, classification and symptoms of HIV
12
and AIDS. This chapter also presents a critical evaluation and interpretation of the
current literature regarding the audiological manifestations of HIV.
2.2
History of HIV
The HIV virus was unknown to humankind before the first reports of homosexual
patients suffering from pneumocystis pneumonia and Kaposi’s sarcoma were
published in 1981 (Centres for Disease Control, 1981a, 1981b,1981c). Not long after
these initial reports the first cases of drug-injecting individuals presenting with the
same
diseases
were
reported.
Two
years
later,
in
1983,
the
human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was defined as the primary cause of acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Barré-Sinoussi, Chermann & Montagnier,
2008). This syndrome is characterized by immune abnormalities caused by the
destruction of
CD4+ lymphocytes
which
compromise the infected person
immunologically. Prolonged infection results in disease with various clinical
manifestations that are known to progress to death (Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006).
Since these initial reports of HIV, a steady increase in the number of affected people
have been reported throughout the years (UNAIDS, 2010). The estimated number of
people living with HIV in 2008 was more that 20% higher than the number in 2000,
whilst the prevalence was around threefold higher than in 1990 (UNAIDS 2009).
The number of new infections during 2008 was 2.7 million. Consequently, the
number of deaths has also steadily risen up until 2005. In 2006 to 2008, however, a
slight decline in the number of AIDS deaths was noted. This decline in the years
2006 to 2008 could partly be attributed to increased availability and use of
antiretroviral agents (ARV) that are used for the treatment of HIV and AIDS
(UNAIDS, 2009). Any decline in AIDS related deaths may cause an increase in
patients living with HIV and AIDS today. This poses challenges for health care
professionals in the management of these patients. In managing HIV patients, it is
inevitable that health care professionals foster a thorough understanding of the
pathophysiology of HIV. The following section provides an overview of the most
important aspects regarding the pathophysiology of HIV.
13
2.3
Pathophysiology of HIV
HIV is a RNA virus which is enveloped in a layer of lipid and glycoproteien. The
virus’s inner layer contains two strands of RNA and the outer membrane contains
certain elements which are important in infection and progression of the disease.
The most important element is the glycoproteien 120 (gp120) which is responsible for
interaction with receptors on host cells such as CD4+ lymphocytes. In the presence
of chemokine co-receptors, gp120 are able to attach to susceptible cells. This
attachment to cells causes the infected cell to die, but at the same time leads to the
production of massive numbers of new viral particles. This ultimately leads to the
impairment or total destruction of the immune system which may lead to the
development of AIDS (Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006). The impairment of the immune
system leaves the patient susceptible to numerous infections such as viruses, fungi
and protozoas, many of which are native to the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx
(Hoffmann et al., 2007). HIV is known for significantly affecting the ear, head and
neck region (Bankaitis & Keith, 1995; Chandrasekhar, 2000, Stearn & Swanepoel,
2010, Sorensen, 2010).
This disease manifests itself in various forms, ranging from asymptomatic infection to
life threatening conditions. It is often characterized by profound immunodeficiency,
opportunistic infections and a range of cancers (Webber, 2010). A strong correlation
exists between the decrease in the numbers of CD4+ lymphocytes and the
development of life threatening illnesses (WHO, 2007; Bekker 2010). CD4+
lymphocyte blood counts are an integral part of the management of HIV patients as it
informs clinical as well as therapeutic management of these patients (CDC, 1993).
HIV can be transmitted through several body fluids such as semen, cervical
secretions, blood, and breast milk. Sexual intercourse is the most common route of
HIV infections. Contaminated needles or blood products are also possible routes of
infection. Vertical transmission, which is mother to child transmission, is the most
common route of transmission in children, usually taking place perinatally (Webber
2010; Newton, 2006, Hoffman et al, 2007). Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are often used
for the treatment of HIV infection, and can significantly reduce vertical transmission.
Delivery by caesarean section and avoidance of breast feeding are also precautions
14
that can be taken in order to prevent transmission of HIV (Newton, 2006). Certain
tests procedures are used to confirm HIV infection. In the following section the
diagnosis of HIV and AIDS is discussed.
2.4
Diagnosing HIV and AIDS
Diagnosing HIV infection is based on the detection of HIV replication while HIV
antibodies are absent at this early stage of infection (Hoffmann et al., 2007). The
CD4+ lymphocyte count is also used as an indicator in the diagnosis of HIV and
AIDS. Patients who present with a total of less than 200 CD4+ T-lymphocytes/uL, or
a CD4+ T-lymphocyte percentage of less than 14% in conjunction with a positive
serological test, are classified as having AIDS. During the first acute phase of HIV
infection, a significant decrease in the CD4+ T-cell count is later followed by a small
increase in the CD4+ count. Clinical suspicion of acute HIV infection requires
conducting a test that detects plasma HIV RNA; results must be confirmed by a HIVantibody test within a few weeks after the initial test (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
AIDS occurs in the advanced stages of HIV infection. As soon as the level of CD4+
T-cells has decreased to such an extent that the immune system is weakened and
susceptible to various illnesses (lower than 200 cells/uL), the patient is diagnosed as
having AIDS (Hoffmann et al., 2007). These AIDS-defining illnesses mark the onset
of AIDS. In the classification of the various HIV stages, these AIDS defining illnesses
are important indicators of the progression of the disease (WHO, 2007).
2.5
Classification and staging of HIV and AIDS
HIV appears to present in progressive stages of severity. In order for health care
professionals to monitor the progression of the disease as well as the efficacy of
antiretroviral treatment, the need for a thorough classification or staging system was
clear. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a clinical staging system
for both adult and paediatric HIV infection (WHO, 2007). This staging system was a
result of the combination of the 1990 classification of disease for adults and
adolescents and the 2003 staging of HIV-related disease in infants and children.
This system is similar to the 1993 centres for disease control (CDC) classification
system (CDC, 1993; Hoffmann et al., 2007), both of which are discussed in the
following section:
15
2.5.1 Centres for disease control (CDC) 1993 classification system
The CDC classification system is based on categorizing patients into three different
categories according both to their CD4+ lymphocyte count (Table 2.2) and the clinical
conditions of HIV (Table 2.3). The three ranges of CD4+ T- lymphocyte counts as
well as three clinical categories were set out to create a matrix of nine categories
(Table 2.1) (CDC, 1993). According to both the CD4+ lymphocyte and clinical
categories, the patient is classified as being in A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2 or C3.
Table 2.1:
Classification of HIV infection
CD4 + T- Lymphocyte count categories
Clinical
categories
Category 1
Category 2
Category 3
Category A
A1
A2
A3
Category B
B1
B2
B3
Category C
C1
C2
C3
CD4+ lymphocyte categories
These categories correspond to CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts per microlitre of blood
and guides clinical and therapeutic actions in the management of HIV-infected adults.
This classification system also allows for the use of the percentage of CD4+ T-cells.
The CDC stipulates that the lowest accurate, not necessarily the most recent, CD4+
T-lymphocyte count should be used for classification purposes (CDC, 1993).
Table 2.2:
(1993))
Classification of CD4+T-lymphocyte counts (Compiled from CDC
Category
Category 1
Category 2
Category 3
CD4+ Count
≥ 500 cells/uL
200-499 cells/uL
< 200 cells/uL
Clinical categories
Three clinical categories of HIV infection are used for classification purposes. Table
2.3 lists the clinical manifestations in each category, according to which a patient is
then classified:
16
Table 2.3: Classification of clinical conditions associated with HIV infection
(CDC, 1993)
Category A
Conditions
Asymptomatic HIV
infection
Persistent generalized
lymphadenopathy
Acute (primary) HIV
infection with
accompanying illness or
history of acute HIV
infection (29,30)
Category B
Conditions
Bacillary angiomatosis
Candidiasis, oropharyngeal
(thrush)
Candidiasis, vulvovaginal;
persistent, frequent, or poorly
responsive to therapy
Cervical dysplasia (moderate or
severe)/cervical carcinoma in
situ
Constitutional symptoms, such
as fever (38.5 C) or diarrhea
lasting greater than 1 month
Hairy leukoplakia, oral
Herpes zoster (shingles),
involving at least two distinct
episodes or more than one
dermatome
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic
purpura
Listeriosis
Pelvic inflammatory disease,
particularly if complicated by
tubo-ovarian abscess
Peripheral neuropathy
Category C
Conditions
Candidiasis of bronchi, trachea, or
lungs
Candidiasis, esophageal
Cervical cancer, invasive *
Coccidioidomycosis, disseminated or
extrapulmonary
Cryptococcosis, extrapulmonary
Cryptosporidiosis, chronic intestinal
(greater than 1 month's duration)
Cytomegalovirus disease (other than
liver, spleen, or nodes)
Cytomegalovirus retinitis (with loss of
vision)
Encephalopathy, HIV-related
Herpes simplex: chronic ulcer(s)
(greater than 1 month's duration); or
bronchitis, pneumonitis, or esophagitis
Histoplasmosis, disseminated or
extrapulmonary
Isosporiasis, chronic intestinal (greater
than 1 month's duration)
Kaposi's sarcoma
Lymphoma, Burkitt's (or equivalent
term)
Lymphoma, immunoblastic (or
equivalent term)
Lymphoma, primary, of brain
Mycobacterium avium complex or M.
kansasii, disseminated or
extrapulmonary
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, any site
(pulmonary * or extrapulmonary)
Mycobacterium, other species or
unidentified species, disseminated or
extrapulmonary
Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
Pneumonia, recurrent *
Progressive multifocal
leukoencephalopathy
Salmonella septicemia, recurrent
Toxoplasmosis of brain
Wasting syndrome due to HIV
In order for a person to be classified in Category A, no condition in Category B or C
must yet have occurred. Category B comprises the listed conditions and these
conditions must either be attributable to HIV infection or must be indicative of a
17
defect in cell-mediated immunity; or the conditions must be considered by physicians
to require management that is complicated by HIV infection (CDC, 1993). For
classification purposes, Category B conditions take precedence over those in
Category A. For example, someone previously treated for oral or persistent vaginal
candidiasis (and who has not developed a Category C disease) but who is now
asymptomatic should be classified in clinical Category B. Category C diseases are
listed and it is specified that once a Category C condition has occurred, the person
will remain in Category C. The natural progress of the disease (without the
interference of ART) is correlated with the progression of clinical manifestations from
Category A to Category C (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
Both the clinical and the CD4+ lymphocyte categories are presented in a sequence of
progressive severity. This serves as an important tool in the monitoring of the
progress of the disease, as well as monitoring the success of ART. This classification
system
provides
a
framework
for
categorizing
HIV-related
morbidity
and
immunosuppression and can also assist in evaluating the overall impact of the
pandemic (CDC, 1993). Other systems such as the WHO staging system have been
developed and provides an alternative for countries where CD4+lymphocyte testing
is not available (CDC, 1993).
For the purposes of this research project the CDC 1993 classification system is used
(CDC, 1993). This classification system is preferred on the basis that various existing
studies utilised it (Khoza & Ross, 2002; Chandrasekhar et al., 2000; Teggi, Ceserani,
Luce, Lazzarin & Bussi, 2008) and therefore its choice for this project ensures that
results obtained in this study will be comparable to those of the previously mentioned
studies.
2.5.2 WHO 2007 classification of HIV/AIDS
The World Health Organisation (WHO) developed and adopted a classification
system during 2007 which also entails the classification of both clinical and
immunological stages (WHO, 2007; Webber, 2010).
Clinical stages
Clinical staging is done once the patient’s infection has been confirmed by either
serological or virological testing. These clinical stages are used for baseline
18
assessment and are a valuable tool for the monitoring of the progress of the disease
and efficacy of ART in patients (WHO, 2007).
Clinical stages are divided into four consecutive stages (Table 2.4; Page 20):
•
Asymptomatic: patients presenting with no symptoms,
•
Mild symptoms: patients presenting with, mild symptoms
•
Advanced symptoms: patients presenting with advanced symptoms
•
Severe symptoms: patients with severe symptoms
These stages correspond well with those listed in the 1993 CDC classification of
clinical categories and are presented in Table 2.3 (Page 17).
19
Table 2.4:
WHO
clinical
stage
WHO clinical staging of established HIV infection (WHO, 2007)
HIV-associated
symptoms
Clinical staging
1
Asymptomatic
Asymptomatic
Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy
2
Mild symptoms
Moderate unexplained weight loss
(<10% of presumed or measured body weight)I
Recurrent respiratory tract infections sinusitis, tonsillitis, otitis media
and pharyngitis)
Herpes zoster
Angular cheilitis
Recurrent oral ulceration
Papular pruritic eruptions
Seborrhoeic dermatitis
Fungal nail infections
3
Advanced
symptoms
Unexplained severe weight loss (>10% of presumed or measured
body weight)
Unexplained chronic diarrhoea for longer than one month
Unexplained persistent fever (above 37.6° C intermittent or constant,
for longer than one month)
Persistent oral candidiasis
Oral hairy leukoplakia
Pulmonary tuberculosis (current)
Severe bacterial infections (such as pneumonia, empyema,
pyomyositis, bone or joint infection, meningitis or bacteraemia)
Acute necrotizing ulcerative stomatitis, gingivitis or periodontitis
Unexplained anaemia (<8 g/dl), neutropaenia (<0.5 × 109 per litre)or
chronic thrombocytopaenia (<50 × 109 per litre)
4
Severe symptoms
HIV wasting syndrome
Pneumocystis pneumonia
Recurrent severe bacterial pneumonia
Chronic herpes simplex infection (orolabial, genital or anorectal
of more than one month’s duration or visceral at any site)
Oesophageal candidiasis (or candidiasis of trachea, bronchi or lungs)
Extrapulmonary tuberculosis
Kaposi’s sarcoma
Cytomegalovirus infection (retinitis or infection of other organs)
Central nervous system toxoplasmosis
HIV encephalopathy
Extrapulmonary cryptococcosis including meningitis
Disseminated non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
Chronic cryptosporidiosis (with diarrhoed)
Chronic isosporiasis
Disseminated mycosis (coccidiomycosis or histoplasmosis)
Recurrent non-typhoidal Salmonella bacteraemia
Lymphoma (cerebral or B-cell non-Hodgkin) or other solid HIVassociated tumours
Invasive cervical carcinoma
Atypical disseminated leishmaniasis
Symptomatic HIV-associated nephropathy or symptomatic HIVassociated cardiomyopathy
20
In some countries, HIV infected patients are classified by using only the clinical
categories; however, immunological classification provides valuable information
regarding the patient’s immune status.
Immunological classification
Immunological classification is the classification of the HIV infected individual into a
group according to his/her CD4+ count. According to the WHO (WHO, 2007), using
the immune status reflected by the CD4+ count proves to be more informative of the
patient’s immune status than using the clinical stages. The immunological
classification is presented in Table 2.5.
Table 2.5:
Immunological classification (adapted from WHO, 2007)
HIV associated
immunodeficiency
None / Not significant
Mild
Advanced
Severe
Age-related CD4+ Value
>5 years (absolute number
per mm3 or %CD4+)
>500
350 – 499
200 – 349
<200 or < 15%
In both adolescents and adults, normal CD4+ counts are 500 to 1500 cells per mm3
of blood. It is widely known that the CD4+ count is the measure of immunity; as the
disease progresses, this count decreases (WHO, 2007; Hoffmann et al., 2007). It has
been reported that CD4+ counts vary within an individual and for the most accurate
count, CD4+ counts should be assessed over time (WHO, 2007). The incidence of
opportunistic infections is associated with CD4+ counts decreasing to under the level
of 200 per mm3 (Newton, 2006; Hoffmann et al., 2007).
Although the determination of immune status is more informative to the physician,
both the clinical stages as well as immune stages are important indicators of the
progress of this disease. It is important to guide the initiation of treatment, as well as
to identify the possibility of treatment failure and the need to reconsider the treatment
approach.
21
Appropriate classification of HIV infected patients is a valuable tool in diagnosing,
preventing and treating HIV-related illnesses or opportunistic infections which may
ultimately affect the auditory system. Due to the paucity of literature in this area more
thorough research is needed regarding the specific stages of progression of this
disease and its association with auditory dysfunction.
Although the staging and classification of HIV provides significant insight into the
natural progress of the disease, the disease manifests itself as having definite stages
of infection. The following section will discuss these stages and the progression of
the infection against the background of the above staging and classification of the
HIV disease.
2.6
Symptoms and progression of HIV
After HIV infection has occurred, and in the absence of antiretroviral treatment (ART),
the disease displays certain definite stages in which it manifests itself. These stages
start with Primary HIV infection, which progresses to a stage of asymptomatic HIV
infection, which then progresses to symptomatic infection or AIDS (Hoffmann et al.,
2007; Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006). The stages set out in the following section
correspond well to the HIV stages described by the World Health Organisation
(WHO, 2007).
Primary HIV infection
Primary infection is an acute viral syndrome which occurs within the time directly
after infection until the development of an antibody response (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
Primary infection with HIV can occur two to six weeks after exposure to the virus and
the patient may present with flu-like symptoms (Hoffmann et al., 2007; Mohammed &
Nasidi, 2006). Although this infection often passes without any symptoms, clinical
symptoms of primary infection may occur and when recognized, may include mild
fever, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, headaches, enlargement of the lymph nodes,
rashes, a sore throat, and mild diarrhoea. These symptoms are often ignored and
tragically not connected with possible HIV infection (Webber, 2010). During this stage
of infection, a high viral count as well as a significant decrease in the CD4+ count is
reported (Hoffmann et al, 2007; Webber, 2010). After decrease in CD4+ cells, the
22
CD4+ count reaches normal levels once again and stabilizes. This can be attributed
to the development of an antibody response (Hoffmann et al., 2007). These
antibodies can only be detected at around 3 to 6 weeks after exposure and is also
referred to as the 'window period' (Webber, 2010) and indicates the start of the next
stage in HIV infection: The Asymptomatic stage.
Asymptomatic infection
As soon as the body has developed an antibody response and the CD4+ count has
returned back to its normal level, the asymptomatic phase of infection is initiated.
During this phase, patients are infected with HIV but experience little or no symptoms
of the infection. It is often referred to as the ‘latent’ phase (Webber, 2010) – which
can be misleading, because in fact the virus is not latent, it merely has no physical
manifestation (Hoffmann et al., 2007). HIV infected individuals are often
asymptomatic for a long time (Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006) and can be in the
asymptomatic phase for up to 8 -10 years (Hoffmann et al., 2007; Webber, 2010).
Although the virus may be dormant in the blood at this stage, it is very active within
the lymph nodes and can therefore these nodes may be swollen (Hoffmann et al.,
2007). Often people in this phase are not yet aware of their HIV status, which poses
a problem for not only the study of health-event patterns but also the spread of the
disease. During the transition to the next phase, a number of infections and clinical
manifestations may appear which is indicative of the Symptomatic phase.
Symptomatic infection / Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (Webber,
2010)
As a patient enters the symptomatic phase, HIV demonstrates immunomanipulative
and immunodestructive behaviour (Webber, 2010) and various slight immunological,
dermatological, haematological and neurological signs start surfacing (Hoffmann et
al., 2007). Many of these illnesses correspond with the illnesses listed in the
Category B Clinical Conditions of the CDC 1993 HIV classification (Table 2.3). The
immune classification (according to CD4+ count (Table 2.5)) up to this stage may
extend to the advanced stage but not into to the severe stage (<200 cells per mm3).
When the CD4+ count decreases to below 200 cells per mm3 however, the risk for
AIDS-defining illnesses increases significantly (Hoffmann et al., 2007). On reaching a
23
value of 200 cells/mm3 the disease progresses to the final stage which is acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
The symptomatic stage progresses to the next stage as a number of infections and
diseases manifest itself due to the patient’s severely decreased immunity. These
diseases are referred to as AIDS-defining illnesses. This terminal stage is referred to
as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Webber 2010). During this stage
patients are severely immunocompromised and susceptible to an array of diseases
and infections. HIV in its advanced stages is often associated with the manifestations
of various clinical conditions such as opportunistic infections (Mohammed & Nasidi,
2006). Patients often present with multiple opportunistic infections that often occur in
association with various other serious illnesses (Hoffmann et al., 2007). The
manifestations listed in the Category C, Clinical conditions of the CDC 1993
classification (Table 2.3) and the fourth stage in the WHO classification (Webber,
2010) are often associated with AIDS. Various systems in the human body are
affected by this infection during this stage. These systems include the respiratory,
gastro-intestinal, central/peripheral nervous system and the skin. The time of the
progression to the final stage (AIDS) depends on a variety of factors such as: genetic
characteristics, the immune response system of the host, the subtype of HIV, the
evolution of HIV as well as the opportunistic infections contracted by the individual
(Webber, 2010).
Various specific opportunistic infections and diseases in this stage are known to,
affect, amongst other systems, the auditory system specifically. These include the
following: otitis externa, polyps of the ear canal, acute otitis media, otosyphillis,
Ramsay Hunt syndrome, cytamegalovirus, pneumocystis jiroveci, cryptococcal
meningitis, invasive aspergillosis, Kaposi’s sarcoma and lymphoma of the tympanic
membrane (Newton, 2006; Rinaldo, Brandwein, Devaney & Ferliti, 2003; Gurney &
Murr, 2003).
Without treatment, the CD4+ count of AIDS patients decreases drastically over a
period of time (some faster than others), causing more infections and illnesses to
24
develop and will eventually lead to death (Hoffmann et al., 2007). Despite the fact
that without treatment these illnesses can, and eventually do lead to death of the
patient, the patient may also experience a severe decrease in overall quality of life.
The treatment of HIV is a fast developing and dynamic field (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
The following section provides information on current treatment techniques for
HIV/AIDS:
2.7
Treatment of HIV
After the first cases of HIV were reported in 1981 (Centers for Disease Control,
1981a, 1981b, 1981c) researchers have made ongoing attempts to find a cure for
this devastating disease (Shibuyama et al., 2006). It is now years of research later
and no cure for this global pandemic has been found (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
However, major advancements have been made throughout the years in the
treatment of this disease, facilitating the change from a major fatal illness to a
manageable chronic illness (Hoffmann et al., 2007). These advancements mainly
consist of the development of antiretroviral drugs (ARV) of which the first of these
became available during 1987 (Beck et al., 2006).
The main aim of ART is to shorten the symptomatic viral illness, to reduce the
number of infected cells, to preserve the immune system (CD4+ cells) and to
stabilize a lowered viral count in the long term (Hoffmann et al., 2007). ARV drugs
target specific sites of the life cycle of HIV, hence the different classes of ARV drugs
(Webber, 2010). Initially the implementation of ART consisted of single drug use
(monotherapy), but with little success (Hoffmann et al., 2007). In 1996 research
showed that with the use of a combination of ARV drugs, the number of deaths
resulting from AIDS decreased from 38% to 22% (Hoffman et al., 2007; Cameron
2000). The success of these drug combinations led to the dramatic change in the
course of the disease (Shibuyama et al., 2006) and is now commonly referred to as
'highly active antiretroviral treatment' (HAART) (Shibuyama et al., 2006; Hoffmann et
al., 2007).
25
Currently, 4 classes of antiretroviral (ARV) agents are available although further ARV
classes could be expected in the future (Hoffman et al., 2007): nucleoside/tide
reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), non-nucleoside/tide reverse transcriptase
inhibitors (NNRTI’s), protease inhibitors (PIs) and fusion inhibitors (FIs) (Shibuyama
et al., 2006; Hoffmann et al., 2007; WHO, 2006). In these classes a total of more
than 25 drugs are licensed (Hoffmann et al., 2007). A brief summary of each of these
classes are provided in the following section.
Nucleoside/tide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI)
NRTIs were the first drugs used in the treatment of HIV-infection and has therefore
been researched extensively (Hoffmann et al., 2007). Current guidelines for
treatment recommend first-line regimen for adults and adolescents to contain two
NRTI’s as well as one NNRTI (WHO, 2006). Therefore, the majority of HIV patients
are receiving NRTIs as part of their treatment today (Shibuyama et al., 2006).
The NRTI class comprises the following drugs: zidovudine (ZDV), didasonine (ddI),
zalcitabine (ddC), lamivudine (3TC), stavudine (d4T), abacavir (ABC), emtricitabine
(FTC) (Beck et al., 2006) and tenofovir (TDF) (Hoffmann et al., 2007). The initial side
effects of these drugs are described as fatigue, headache and gastrointestinal
problems, which range from mild abdominal discomfort to nausea, vomiting and
diarrhoea (Hoffmann et al., 2007). The long term side effects of the use of NRTIs
have shown to be an obstacle to effective long term treatment of HIV (Shibuyama et
al., 2006) and include the following: myelotoxicity, lactate acidosis, polyneuropathy,
(Hoffmann et al., 2007), hepatic steatosis, lipoatrophy, anemia, cardiomyopathy,
gastrointestinal disease, drug-induced hypersensitivity, myopathy, nephrotoxicity,
pancreatitis, peripheral neuropathy, retinal lesions and ototoxicity (Kakuda, 2000).
Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI)
Despite its first description in 1990, the three drugs in this class were only introduced
between 1996 and 1998 as part of the regimen of drugs for the treatment of HIV
(Hoffmann et al., 2007). This class consists of the following drugs: efavirens (EFZ),
nevirapine (NVP) and delavirdine (DLV); the last mentioned is licensed in North
America only. The class-wide (umbrella) side effects described regarding this class
26
are rash and hepatotoxicity (Shibuyama et al. 2006). EFZ also has a significant
amount of central nervous system (CNS) side effects of which the following have
been reported: insomnia, dizziness, light-headedness, nervousness, irritability,
impaired concentration, abnormal dreaming and hallucinations (Staszewski, MoralesRamirez, Tashima, Rachlis, Skiest, Stanford, Stryker, Johnson, Labriola, Farina,
Manion & Ruiz, 1999; Haas, Fessel, Delapenha, Kessler, Seekins, Kaplan, Ruiz,
Ploughman, Labriola & Manion, 2001; Negredo, Cruz, Paredes, Ruiz, Fumaz,
Bonjoch, Gel, Tuldra & Balagué, 2002). Although unclear, certain associations
between psychiatric symptoms and the use of specifically EFZ have been made.
Protease inhibitors (PI)
Protease inhibitors have significant impact on the outcomes of patients treated with
PI’s, but the dramatic nature of its side effects has a significant effect on the long
term tolerability of these drugs (Shibuyama et al., 2006). PI’s have shown to be
associated with an increased risk for lipodystrophy, hepatoxicity, hyperglyceamia,
increased bleeding in patients with hemophilia, gastro intestinal disturbances as well
as lipid abnormalities (Shibuyama et al., 2006). The ARV agents in this class consists
of the following: saquinavir (SQV), indinavir (IDV), ritonavir (RTV), nelfinavir (NFV),
amprenavir (APV), lopanavir (LPV), fosamprenavir (fos-APV), atazanavir (ATV) (Beck
et al., 2006) and tipranavir (Hoffmann et al., 2007). Because PI's do not pose the
dangers of potential mitochondrial toxicity of nucleoside analog drugs, and also
because of new easier-to-take dosages of PI’s, they are becoming increasingly
important in the treatment of HIV (Hoffmann et al. 2007).
Fusion inhibitors (FI)
Fusion inhibitors are the latest group of ARVs to become available for use in HIV
treatment (Shibuyama et al., 2006). Entry inhibitors mainly prohibit HIV from entering
the cells of the patient (Hoffmann et al., 2007; Shibuyama et al., 2006). To date, this
ARV class includes the following drug only: Enfuvirtide (ENF / T-20). Side effects of
this drug are known to include the following: Injection site reactions, hypersensitivity
reactions as well as an increased risk for pneumonia. Studies have also shown
frequent reports of diarrhoea, nausea as well as fatigue (Lalezar, Henry, O’Hearn,
Montaner, Piler & Trottier, 2003).
27
Antiretroviral treatment is an important breakthrough in the treatment of HIV/AIDS
(Shibuyama et al., 2006); and up to date, the implementation of HAART has led to
major reductions in the morbidity and mortality of HIV patients (Shibuyama et al.,
2006; Palella, Delaney, Moorman, Loveless, Fuhrer, Satten, Aschman, Scott,
Holmberg & The HIV Outpatient study investigators, 1998). Ultimately, this leads to a
longer life expectancy in HIV infected patients and consequently to an increase in the
number of people living with HIV today. Subsequently, there are several issues
regarding the quality of life of HIV patients which in turn poses significant challenges
to various health care practitioners who are now also placing more emphasis on
enhancing the quality of life for patients with HIV (Brongios, Luque, Martin, Sagrado
& Bouza, 2011). Although a range of variable results have been reported by several
studies, HIV/AIDS is known to have a significant impact on the human auditory
system causing both sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and conductive hearing loss
(CHL) that affect the quality of life of these patients (Bankaitis & Keith, 1995;
Chandrasekhar et al., 2000; Singh, Georgalas, Patel & Papesh, 2003; Khoza & Ross,
2002).
2.8
HIV associated auditory dysfunction
HIV infection is a known cause of significant manifestations in the ear, head and neck
region (Baikantis & Keith, 1995; Chadrasekhar et al., 2000, Sorensen, 2010). HIV
related manifestations are common and occur, according to De Vincentiis, Sitzia,
Bottero, Giuzio, Simonetti & Rossi (2009), in 40% of HIV infected individuals. The
following auditory manifestations have been well-documented: hearing loss, vertigo,
tinnitus, otalgia, otorrrhea and various opportunistic infections which have
manifestations in the auditory system (Chandrasekhar et al., 2000; Chaloryoo,
Chotpitayasunondh & Chiengmai, 1998; Bankaitis & Keith, 1995; Madriz & Herrera,
1995, Khoza-Shangase, 2010). At this stage the exact prevalence of auditory
dysfunction in HIV patients is unclear. There are, however, studies describing the
prevalence and association of auditory symptoms in HIV patients. These studies will
be discussed and critically evaluated in the following section.
28
2.8.1 Prevalence of auditory dysfunction in HIV
Limited thorough research has been done in the field of HIV/AIDS related auditory
dysfunction. It is for this reason that the prevalence of associated hearing loss is not
known. Several studies have been conducted, but with somewhat heterogenic
findings in terms of type, severity and configuration of hearing loss (KhozaShangase, 2010). It is however clear that hearing loss in HIV patients is an important
clinical consideration. Sensorineural as well as conductive hearing loss with both a
sudden and a gradual onset has been reported (Real et al., 1987; Timon & Walsh,
1989; Solanellas, Soldado & Lozano, 1996; Khoza & Ross, 2002; Chandrasekhar et
al., 2000).
In 1999 the National Institutes of Health estimated that 75% of adults with HIV/AIDS
experience auditory dysfunction of some kind, often attributed to various
opportunistic infections such as herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus and herpes zoster
oticus (Zuniga, 1999). Lalwani & Sooy (1992) estimated in their study that the
prevalence of HIV related sensorineural hearing loss is between 21% and 49%, while
Chandrasekhar et al., (2000) found 29% of participants to have a hearing loss. This
corresponds with the findings of Lalwani & Sooy (1992). It is however, possible that a
certain percentage of these patients may have presented with hearing loss
attributable to another cause than HIV/AIDS. Khoza & Ross (2002) investigated the
auditory function of a group of South African adults infected with HIV and found that
23% of their subjects presented with hearing loss. This also appears to be consistent
with the above mentioned studies as well as with various other international studies
(Khoza & Ross, 2005; Bankaitis 1996; Birhall et al., 1992; Chandrasekhar et al.,
2000).
Varying findings were however reported in a study by McNaghten, Wan & Dworkin
(2001) where hearing loss was reported in only 1% of adults in a cohort of HIVinfected patients. This seemingly contradictory finding might be attributable to the fact
that data were gathered by studying medical records with mainly subjective reports of
decrease in hearing sensitivity and not by direct audiometric screening. As a result
hearing loss in this study may therefore have been under-reported, especially milder
degrees of loss. The stage of HIV infection and CD4+ count was not necessarily
29
taken into consideration. This might have influenced results as the progressive
depletion of the CD4+ cells is associated with the progression of HIV disease and an
increased likelihood of the occurrence of opportunistic infections (WHO, 2007); in
turn, this may cause a higher prevalence of auditory manifestations (Zuniga, 1999;
Bankaitis & Keith, 1995). It has also been reported by Khoza & Ross, (2002) as well
as Chandrasekhar et al. (2000) that an increased prevalence in hearing loss existed
throughout the progression of the disease. The use of potentially ototoxic medication
(Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010) such as ART (Christensen et al., 1998; Simdon et al.,
2001; Vogeser et al., 1998) and aminoglycosides for treatment of opportunistic
infections (Newton, 2006) was not considered in this study, and some of the subjects
might have been exposed to these drugs that could potentially have influenced the
results of the study.
The factors mentioned above could potentially have contributed towards the
significant differences in the findings of these studies. The possibility also exists that
hearing loss or auditory dysfunction is defined differently in these studies, since in
some cases only permanent hearing losses are taken into account while in other
cases patients presenting with temporary conductive hearing loss due to otitis media,
for example, are also considered in the calculation of the prevalence of auditory
dysfunction or hearing loss.
Different types of hearing loss have been reported in HIV infected patients. Khoza &
Ross (2002) found conductive hearing loss to be less prevalent than sensorineural
hearing loss and cochlear, retrocochlear as well as mixed hearing loss were
documented. This corresponds to literature which indicates that conductive,
sensorineural
and
central
hearing
losses
are
encountered
in
HIV/AIDS
(Chandrasekhar et al., 2000; Friedmann & Noftsinger, 1998).
Although research evidence has demonstrated a high incidence of hearing loss in
HIV infected patients (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010), it is important to consider the
mechanisms of auditory dysfunction in order to establish the various direct and
indirect causes of hearing loss associated with HIV/AIDS.
30
2.8.2 Mechanisms of auditory dysfunction in HIV
It is widely known that HIV/AIDS has significant and often overlooked detrimental
effects on the auditory system (Newton, 2006; Rinaldo et al., 2003; American Health
Consultants, 1999; Bankaitis & Keith, 1995; Madriz & Herrera, 1995). HIV manifests
itself in the auditory system in various ways and the mechanisms of auditory
dysfunction can be categorized as follows (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010):
•
Direct effects of HIV on the CNS, through affecting the integrity of nerve
pathways and the conduction of impulses to higher centres in the brain
•
The occurrence of HIV-associated opportunistic infections which often cause
both conductive as well as sensorineural hearing losses in HIV patients
•
Ototoxicity in HIV patients, either through the use of highly active antiretroviral
treatment (HAART) or the use of a variety of antibiotics as treatment for
opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS
These mechanisms of auditory dysfunction in patients with HIV/AIDS are discussed
in depth in the following sections.
2.8.3 Auditory dysfunction associated with the direct effects of HIV
However limited, research has shown that HIV/AIDS has an affinity for the central
and peripheral nervous systems and this affinity represents one of the audiological
manifestations directly attributable to HIV infection (Lalwani & Sooy, 1992). HIV
seropositive patients may present with sub-clinical central and peripheral nervous
system involvement (Sinha & Satishchandra, 2003; Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010). HIV
infection also has the potential to affect the 8th cranial nerve to such an extent that
sensorineural hearing loss can occur (Birchall et al., 1992; Grimaldi, Luzi, Martino,
Furlan, Nemni, Antonelli, Canal & Pozza, 1993; Timon & Walsh, 1989). These
retrocochlear pathologies can be assessed by auditory brainstem response (ABR)
testing. Initial changes in the central nervous system (CNS) involve sub-cortical
demyelization and local demyelination due to infection of the glial and neurological
cells. ABR results may therefore be abnormal in the earliest stages of HIV infection
before any significant clinical manifestations are observed (Reyes-Contreras et al.,
2002; Birchall et al., 1992; Matas, Sansone, Iorio & Succi, 2000; Matas et al., 2006;
31
Vigliano et al., 1997). Existing literature clearly shows the existence of direct
manifestations of HIV in the auditory system. These research studies are evaluated
below.
ABR results of HIV infected patients with and without AIDS were compared in a study
by Reyes-Contreras et al. (2002). ABR testing was performed in 44 HIV infected
patients of which 22 presented with clinical manifestations of AIDS and 22 were
asymptomatic. Twenty healthy subjects were included as control group. This study
showed a significant number of AIDS patients with abnormal ABR results, but
presenting with no major neurological symptoms. A total of 68% AIDS and HIV
positive patients in this study presented with at least one abnormality in ABR results,
while the most common abnormality was an abnormal V/I amplitude ratio. This study
therefore reports that abnormal ABR results are common in both asymptomatic and
symptomatic HIV patients. The small number of participants in this study might have
affected the statistical significance of results.
In a study by Bankaitis (1995) thirteen patients in the CDC C3 HIV/AIDS category
(CDC, 1993) and nine patients in the CDC A1 HIV/AIDS category (CDC, 1993) were
evaluated with the ABR conducted at varying stimulus rates. All subjects were
between 18 and 45 years of age and had normal hearing in both ears. The study
found significant delays in the latency of wave V in the C3 group (CD4+ count <
200/mm3) utilizing both the stimulus rates. The results also indicated that by utilizing
a faster stimulus rate, prolonged wave V latencies were found in the CDC A1 (CD4+
count > 500/mm) group.
In a more recent study a total of 101 children were included in a study of which 51
were diagnosed with AIDS and 50 were not HIV positive (Matas et al., 2006).
Various procedures such as pure tone audiometry, acoustic immittance measures
and ABR were conducted on both these groups. Children with AIDS showed a higher
incidence of abnormal results than the control group. Between 32% and 42% of the
AIDS patients presented with abnormal findings, which was divided into the following:
peripheral disorders, central disorders and mixed disorders. In the younger group (3
to 6 years old) of AIDS patients, 10% of abnormal findings were attributable to
32
auditory brainstem disorders, 45% to peripheral and 45% to mixed disorders. In the
older group (7 to 10 years), 75% of abnormal findings presented with peripheral
disorders and 25% with auditory brainstem disorders.
A group of 36 symptomatic patients were studied by using evoked potentials (EP)
over the duration of 3 years, with control recordings every six months (Vigliano et al.,
1997). Initially, 10 of the subjects presented with neurological signs while 8
developed encephalopathy during the follow-up. The results of this study show a
significant increase in ABR latencies with the progression of the disease.
Evidence also exists that HIV infection accompanies certain histopathologic and
ultra-structural pathologic changes in the temporal bones and vestibular end organs
of AIDS patients (Chandrasekhar, Sirvels & ChanraSekhar, 1992; Pappas, Roland,
Lim, Lai & Hillman, 1995). In an early study, researchers studied 10 temporal bones
from five HIV patients obtained through autopsy (Chandrasekhar et al., 1992).
Findings illustrated that changes in the otological structures were observed and were
the probable cause of the occurrence of a number of otologic symptoms present in
HIV patients: otalgia, which is attributable to severe inflammation existing in the air
cells, also in asymptomatic patients; conductive hearing loss, which can be attributed
to middle ear exudates, granulation tissue and deformation of the ossicles
(Chandrasekhar et al., 1992); sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus, which both
might be attributable to pathological changes in the endolymphatic and perilymphatic
spaces, and vertigo, which is assumed to be caused by abnormalities in the vestibule
and semicircular canals (Chandrasekhar et al, 1992). This study was conducted on a
limited number of temporal bones and certain investigative techniques such as
electron microscopy may provide more insight into this phenomenon (Chandrasekhar
et al., 1992).
A study by Pappas et al. (1995) investigated 24 temporal bones from 12 AIDS
subjects obtained during autopsy. Electron microscopy was used in investigating
these specimens. Evidence of neuro-epithelial infection as a direct cause of HIV
infection was observed while accelerated degenerative processes were also seen in
hair cells. The findings in this study could be not solely attributed to the presence of
33
HIV and more thorough studies are needed to determine the exact nature of this
cause and effect relationship (if such a relationship does exist).
From the studies mentioned above, it is clear that HIV infection has significant
structural effects on the CNS and 8th cranial nerve, which may cause sensorineural
hearing loss or abnormal auditory processing (Moazzez & AIjaz, 1998; Newton,
2006). These studies conclusively demonstrate the potential utility of ABRs in the
early detection of HIV associated neuro-degeneration and neurological dysfunction in
even asymptomatic HIV infected individuals. The ABR could subsequently also be a
useful tool in studying the progression of disease in longitudinal studies.
Apart from the direct manifestations of HIV on the auditory system, HIV is known to
cause an impaired immune system which often leads to the occurrence of various
opportunistic infections (Hoffmann et al., 2007). Some of these opportunistic
infections are known risk factors for hearing loss (Mishra, Walmsley, Loutfy, Kaul,
Logue & Gold, 2008; Newton 2006; Chandrasekhar et al., 2000; Zuniga, 1999).
2.8.4 Auditory dysfunction associated with opportunistic infections
Various opportunistic infections occur as a result of the challenged immune system of
HIV patients and commonly manifests in patients with AIDS (Mohammed & Nasidi,
2006). Patients often present with multiple opportunistic infections that often occur in
association with various other serious illnesses (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
Various cut-off CD4+ values have been recommended for the occurence of certain
specific opportunistic infections; these are depicted in table 2.6 (Hoffmann et al.,
2007). Note that the opportunistic infections mentioned in this table do not include the
entire spectrum of possible infections, but those which occur most often.
34
Table 2.6: Cut-off for CD4+ T-cells, above which particular AIDS illnesses are
improbable (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
*These CD4+ counts are only reference values; exceptions are possible.
Cut-off*
No cut-off
<100 cells/uL
Opportunistic infection
Kaposi’s sarcoma, pulmonary tuberculosis, herpes zoster virus, bacterial
pneumonia, lymphoma
Pneumocystis pneumonia, oesophageal candidiasis, progressive multifocal
leukoencephalopathy, herpes simplex virus
Cerebral toxoplasmosis, HIV encephalopathy, cryptococcosis, miliary tuberculosis
<50 cells/uL
Cytomegalovirus retinitis, atypical mycobacteriosis
< 250 cells/uL
The use of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) for HIV/AIDS is a major
cause of the decreasing incidence of opportunistic infections in HIV/AIDS patients
because the occurrence of these infections are directly associated with a challenged
immune system (Webber, 2010; Hoffmann et al., 2007). Immune reconstitution
through the use of HAART has shown to be the best preventative measure for
opportunistic infections (Webber, 2010; WHO, 2007; Hoffmann et al, 2007).
During 1999 the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC reported that 75% of
adults with HIV/AIDS have auditory dysfunction due to various opportunistic
infections such as herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus and herpes zoster oticus
(Zuniga, 1999). Opportunistic infections with potentially adverse effects on the
auditory system can be classified according to its effect on the auditory system. Two
major groups are distinguished, namely those possibly causing conductive hearing
loss (CHL) and those possibly causing sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Table 2.7
lists these opportunistic infections as well as the type of hearing loss typically
associated with the specific infection.
Table 2.7:
Type of hearing loss associated with opportunistic infections
Opportunistic infection
Type of hearing loss
Otitis media (OM)
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS)
Malignancies
Cytamegalovirus (CMV)
Herpes zoster virus (HZV)
Meningitis
Otosyphillis
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss
35
These two categories of opportunistic infections are discussed in the following
section.
2.8.4.1
Conductive Hearing Loss (CHL)
Conductive hearing loss is normally associated with any pathology or cause which
prevents the effective transmission of sound through the auditory mechanism from
the outer ear to the cochlea. Various opportunistic infections may directly or indirectly
cause the obstruction of sound travelling through the auditory mechanism. Literature
reports on otitis media (Lalwani & Sooy, 1992; Chandrasekhar et al., 2000) and
Kaposi’s sarcoma (Newton, 2006; Moazzez & Alvi, 1998) which both are potential
causes of CHL in HIV/AIDS patients (Lalwani & Sooy, 1992; Chandrasekhar et al.,
2000).
Otitis media
In patients with HIV/AIDS otitis media is one of the most common opportunistic
infections with adverse effects on the auditory system (Lalwani & Sooy, 1992;
Chandrasekhar et al., 2000). Otitis media usually leads to a build-up of fluid in the
middle ear, preventing the effective transmission of sound to the cochlea and thereby
ultimately causing conductive hearing loss. It has been reported that HIV/AIDS
predisposes the patient to a higher occurrence of otitis media (Gondim, Zonta,
Fortkamp & Schmeling, 2000; Principi, Marchiso, Tomaghi, Onorato, Massirani &
Picco, 1991) which ultimately leads to more recurrent episodes of acute otitis media
(Newton, 2006). Otitis media in HIV/AIDS patients is often caused by Eustachian
tube dysfunction (Lubbe, 2004; Gurney & Murr, 2003; Lalwani & Sooy, 1992).
Eustachian tube dysfunction is in turn caused by HIV/AIDS associated inflammation,
recurrent viral infections, sinusitis and nasopharyngeal masses amongst others
(Gurney et al., 2003; Lalwani & Sooy, 1992). As is the case with mastoiditis, otitis
media is also caused by pneumocystis jiroveci (Hoffmann et al., 2007; Newton,
2006), formerly known as pneumocystis carinii (Newton, 2006; Gurney & Murr, 2003;
Salzer, 1994).
36
Few reports on the prevalence of otitis media in HIV/AIDS adults have been
published, therefore some of the discussed reports includes paediatric samples to
illustrate the increased prevalence of otitis media in HIV/AIDS individuals.
The clinical manifestations of HIV and AIDS were researched retrospectively in a
group of 250 children (Chalorooy et al., 1998). The incidence of otitis media in this
study was reported to be 18.4%. In the same study, a cross-sectional study was
conducted among 50 HIV/AIDS children who were sent for ear examination.
Fourteen cases of acute otitis media and 5 cases of chronic suppurative otitis media
were reported (adding up to a total of 38% of otitis media cases). Although both
these findings show a high incidence of otitis media in HIV patients it must be kept in
mind that the study was conducted on a group of paediatric HIV patients; it is known
that children, even without HIV are at a higher risk for developing otitis media than
adults due to anatomical differences in the area of the Eustachian tube (Northern &
Downs, 2002). It is, however, not clear whether some incidences of otitis media in the
study by Chalorooy et al., (1998) could be attributed to any other associated illness
or predisposition to otitis media and not necessarily to HIV. No differentiation was
made between male and female patients, CD4+ counts over time or age, all of which
are important variables to consider (Northern & Downs, 2002; Mohammed & Nasidi,
2006; Hoffmann et al, 2007). A lower prevalence of otitis media was found in the
retrospective study than in the cross sectional study. This might be attributed to
possibly more thorough ear examinations done in the cross sectional study whilst the
retrospective study relied heavily on medical records (Chalorooy et al., 1998). It is
however known that otitis media is more common in children than in adults (Northern
& Downs, 2002).
A study by Shapiro & Novelli (1998) reported on the incidence of otitis media in
children with vertically acquired HIV infection. A retrospective review was done on 72
sero-positive children. It was found that 44.4% of these children presented with at
least one episode of diagnosed otitis media. The possibility again exist that otitis
media had not been diagnosed or thoroughly documented, seeing that it was a
retrospective study. In 14 of the 32 patients with a history of otitis media otorrhea was
also presented due to tympanic membrane perforation, the presence of a
37
tympanostomy tube or middle ear granulation tissue. It is also true that in this study
various other factors which could cause increased susceptibility to otitis media have
not been considered, for example age. However, variables such as gender, CD4+
count and race were considered in this study.
A prevalence of 13.24% of chronic supparative otitis media in paediatric HIV patients
were found in a longitudinal, descriptive study by Bernaldez, Morales & Hernandez
(1998). A total of 91 HIV infected children were involved in the study, representing
only those children with chronic suppurative otitis media; the full spectrum of otitis
media was not represented. This implies that the prevalence found in this study might
not be an accurate reflection of the wide spectrum of otitis media prevalence in this
population.
Gondim et al. (2000) reported on otorhinolaryngological manifestations of HIV in
children. The authors observed that in the HIV positive group, 90% of children
presented with otorhinolaryngological symptoms as opposed to 45% in the HIV
negative group. Acute otitis media was one of the most common presentations in the
test group (50%) as opposed to 25% in the control group while there was also an
incidence of 15% of chronic suppurative otitis media in the test group. This study
found that the presence of HIV infection does not necessarily facilitate the
occurrence of acute otitis media, but predisposes recurrences of the infection.
However, because of the very small number of children participating in this study,
and also because only children were used in this study, the statistical significance of
this data can be questioned. However, taking into account that the study made use of
a control group and monitored the two groups over a period of one year, the results
of this study are quite significant.
Singh et al. (2003) studied the ear, nose and throat (ENT) manifestations of HIV in
107 infected children. In their sample, a total of 50% of children presented with ENT
illnesses, 46% of these presenting with ENT symptoms associated with otitis media.
Therefore, a calculated total of 24.4% of the total number of subjects presented with
otitis media. Various shortcomings exist in this study, as it was conducted as a
retrospective study examining medical records – chances are that illnesses were
38
under-reported. Furthermore, the study was conducted in the paediatric population
where specifically otitis media is known to have a high prevalence (Northern &
Downs, 2002). Therefore, the high prevalence of otitis media cannot necessarily be
attributed to HIV infection solely as the pre-existence of other factors was not taken
into account.
In a study by Miziara, Weber, Filho & Neto in 2007, a total of 459 HIV positive
children were included in a retrospective study. A total of 33.1% of these children
presented with otitis media of which 14.2% had chronic supparative otitis media;
10.5% had acute otitis media and 8.5% had otitis media with effusion. Palacios,
Montalvo, Fraire, Leon, Alvarez & Solorzano (2008) investigated the audiologic and
vestibular functioning in 23 HIV positive children. Although no participant presented
with otitis media during the collection of data in this study, evidence of supparative
otitis media was evident in 4% of cases, acute otitis media in 13% of participants and
9% of participants presented with otitis media with effusion. A retrospective
prevalence of 26% of otitis media was therefore found in this sample.
Chandrasekhar et al. (2000) conducted a study amongst 50 HIV infected adults
visiting outpatient infectious disease and otorhinolaryngology clinics. In the general
adult population otitis media is usually relatively uncommon (Northern & Downs,
2002) whereas this study showed a high incidence of otitis media (23%). The
majority of participants in this study were female, implying that the sample was not
truly representative of gender. It is, however, also important that the majority of
patients in this study were classified in the CDC Category 3, which is the most
advanced stage of HIV infection. It should therefore be noted that the high incidence
of otitis media in this study could be partially representative and indicative of its
prevalence in the advanced stages of HIV infection where more opportunistic
infections occur (Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006; Hoffmann et al., 2007).
The following table (table 2.8; page 40) indicates a summary of studies investigating
the prevalence of otitis media in HIV infected individuals.
39
Table 2.8:
Studies providing data on the prevalence of otitis media in HIV
infected individuals
Study
Chalorooy,
Chotpitayasunondh &
Chiengmai (1998)
Method
Retrospective
study
Cross-sectional
Population
Results
Type of OM
250 children in the
Children's hospital,
Bangkok
50 children
18.4%
CSOM*
38%
Shapiro & Novelli
(1998)
Retrospective
study
72 children 22-156
months old in the
Great Ormond Street
Hospital
44.4%
28% - AOM*
10% - CSOM
OME* & CSOM
Bernaldez, Morales&
Hernandez (1998)
Longitudinal,
prospective,
descriptive study
Observational case
control study
91 children – mean
age: 32.51 months
13.24%
CSOM
40 children at the
CRESCEM
(Reference Centre
for the Health of
Children & Women)
50 adults at the
Infectious Disease
Clinic of the
University of
Medicine and
Dentistry of New
Jersey (UMDNJ)
107 children
32.5%
25%-AOM
7.5%-CSOM
23%
Not specified
24.4%
AOM & OME
459 children
33.1%
23 Children
26%
AOM– 10.5%
OME – 8.5%
CSOM-14.2%
CSOM – 4%
AOM – 13%
OME – 9%
Gondim, Zonta,
Fortkamp & Schmeling
(2000)
Chandrasekhar,
Connelly, Brahmbhatt,
Shah, Kloser &
Baredes (2000)
Observational case
control study
Singh, Georgalas,
Patel & Papesh (2003)
Miziara, Weber, Filho &
Neto, (2007)
Retrospective
study
Retrospective
study
Palacios, Montalvo,
Fraire, Leon, Alvarez &
Solorzano, 2008
Cross sectional
Cohort
**AOM: Acute Otitis media; CSOM: Chronic supparative otitis media; OME: Otitis media with
effusion.
The studies that have been considered report a prevalence of 18.4% - 44.4% of otitis
media in HIV/AIDS patients. The variation in these figures might be partially
attributable to the fact that some of these studies were cross-sectional and some
were retrospective in nature. It must, however, be kept in mind that these studies
were conducted in both adults and children; this has certain implications, since
children, even without HIV, are known to be more susceptible to otitis media than
adults (Northern & Downs, 2002). The different stages of disease progression were
not always considered in these studies; this could have influenced the results
40
significantly because opportunistic infections especially occur in the more advanced
stages of HIV infection (Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006; Hoffmann et al., 2007).
Seeing that acute otitis media is not a chronic infection compared to chronic
suppurative otitis media, several patients could have been missed in cross-sectional
studies, considering the fact that in cross-sectional studies observations are made at
a specific point in time (Maxwell & Satake, 2006). In turn, retrospective studies may
provide varying results due to the possibility of under-reported infection or insufficient
recordkeeping. In contrast, in retrospective studies the possibility exists that the
prevalence may very well seem to be more than indicated in a cross-sectional study
due to the fact that a retrospective study will document all incidences of otitis media
throughout the progression of the disease and not at one specific stage of the
disease only.
Although abovementioned reports of otitis media in HIV/AIDS mainly included
paediatric samples, it is clear that a increased prevalence of otitis media is seen in
the general HIV/AIDS population. It is clear that there is a reported incidence of
between 18.4% and 44.4% of otitis media in the HIV population. Otitis media is
known to cause conductive and possibly sensorineural hearing loss (Stearn &
Swanepoel, 2010), possibly suggesting an increasing prevalence of auditory
dysfunction in HIV patients due to otitis media.
Kaposi’s sarcoma
In addition to otitis media, the second possible cause of CHL in HIV/AIDS is Kaposi’s
sarcoma (KS) which is 20 000 times more common in the AIDS population than in
the uninfected population (Hermans, 1998). Kaposi's sarcoma is the most common
malignant manifestation of AIDS (Moazzez & Alvi, 1998) and is an AIDS-defining
illness (Newton, 2006; Lubbe, 2004). It is characterized by a tumour originating from
vascular and lymphatic epithelium (Newton, 2006); these tumours are palpable, dark
purple or pink nodules on the skin (Hoffmann et al., 2007; Newton 2006; Lubbe
2004). Kaposi's sarcoma lesions affecting the external ear most commonly occur in
patients with AIDS. The presence of these tumours in the ear, ear canal, tympanic
membrane or middle ear often cause conductive hearing loss through preventing the
41
proper transmitting of sound waves through the auditory mechanism (Newton, 2006;
Moazzez & Alvi, 1998).
Cholesteatoma
Cholesteatoma often occurs as a complication of chronic otitis media (Stearn &
Swanepoel,
2010)
and
is
common
in
immunocompromised
individuals.
Cholesteatoma is a pocket that may be formed in the tympanic membrane and may
lead to cochlear damage. This occurs in approximately one in four children with
chronic otitis media (Bernaldez et al., 2005) and can therefore eventually lead to a
conductive or sensorineural hearing loss. Gadre & Davies (2006) reports on a HIV
positive patient presenting with chronic otalgia and hearing loss in the right ear.
Cholesteatoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant otitis externa were
diagnosed. These conditions were likely due to the immunocompromised status of
this patient as it is known that these conditions occur relatively frequently in the HIV
population (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
Lymphoma
Lymphoma is often correlated with immune suppression (Goodarzi, Broberg &
Lalwani, 1998) and grows rapidly and aggressively (Hoffmann et al., 2007).
Lymphoproliferative disease occurs more commonly in an immunocompromised
individual and is often characterized by lymphoma occurring at unusual sites
(Goodarzi et al. 1998).
In a case study presented by Goodarzi, Broberg & Lalwani (1998) an HIV patient
presented with otalgia, hearing loss and a mass on the tympanic membrane of the
left ear as well as left facial weakness. This was diagnosed as a B-cell lymphoma
and treated through surgery. Lymphoma is known to occur regularly in the HIV
population (Goodarzi et al., 1997) and in the rare cases where it affects the outer and
middle ear, conductive hearing loss may result.
2.8.4.2
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL)
Various opportunistic infections have shown to be the cause of sensorineural hearing
loss (SNHL) in patients (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010). Sensorineural hearing loss is
42
acquired due to damage to the cochlea, the VIIIth cranial nerve, or the auditory
pathways to the CNS. It has been reported that various HIV/AIDS associated
opportunistic infections such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes zoster virus (HZV),
meningitis and otosyphilis potentially cause SNHL. A brief discussion of these is
provided below.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Congenital CMV is known to be a cause of hearing loss in infants and young children
(Harris, Ahlfors, Ivarsson, Lermark & Svanberg, 2008; Iwasaki, Yamashita, Maeda,
Misawa & Mineta, 2007). It is also one of the most frequent causes of central and
peripheral pathology (Meynard, Amrani, Meyohas, Fligny, Gozlan, Rozenbaum,
Roullet & Frottier, 1997; Vancikova & Dvorak, 2001). CMV infection mostly occurs
before the acquisition of HIV and is usually reactivated after the acquisition of
HIV/AIDS (Vancikova & Dvorak, 2001) and is not necessarily due to primary
infection. The development of CMV has shown a correlation with the severity and
progression of immunodeficiency (Hoffmann et al., 2007; Meynard et al., 1997).
The first reports of CMV infection in HIV infected patients with associated hearing
loss were presented by Meynard et al. (1997). In these cases the patients presented
with a bilateral hearing loss which improved after treatment of the CMV infection. In
one of these cases, deafness recurred after initial improvement and the other could
not be followed up. In one case the patient also presented with significant tinnitus
and dizziness. These case studies reveal the possibility of VIIIth cranial nerve
involvement with CMV infection. According to Vallely et al. (2006) hearing loss due to
CMV is usually bilateral and progressive in nature.
Due to a lack of literature reporting on CMV co-infection in HIV patients, CMV should
be considered as a possible cause of sensorineural hearing loss (Meynard et al.,
1997) and should alert the health care specialist to the above.
Herpes zoster virus (HZV)
Herpes zoster virus infections occur relatively frequently in HIV/AIDS patients
(Newton, 2006) and can occur because of re-activation, due to immunodeficiency, of
43
an earlier infection with the varicella virus which resides for the entire lifespan of an
individual his/her spinal ganglia Hoffmann et al. (2007). Herpes zoster often presents
as shingles which cause ulcerative lesions of the skin. As soon as it starts affecting
the VIII’th cranial nerve associated symptoms may occur, and it is then referred to as
herpes zoster oticus (Adour, 1994). Symptoms include severe otalgia, hearing loss,
facial nerve paralysis and vertigo (Newton, 2006; Gurney & Murr, 2003). Together,
provided that facial nerve paralysis is present, these symptoms are known as
Ramsay Hunt syndrome (Newton, 2006; Gurney & Murr, 2003).
Kuchabal, Kuchabal & Nashi (2000) report a case of Ramsay Hunt syndrome in HIV
with associated hearing loss. A 32-year old male presented with fluid filled lesions on
the left side of the face, neck, pinna as well as in the external auditory canal. The
patient complained about loss of taste, tinnitus, hearing loss, vertigo and dizziness.
The patient’s CD4+ count was 180 cells/mm3 and blood tests confirmed a HIV
positive status. With these and various other clinical findings and investigations a
diagnosis of disseminated herpes zoster with facial palsy and Ramsay Hunt
syndrome in association with HIV infection was made. Because of the frequency of
occurrence of this disease in the HIV population as well as its negative effect on the
auditory system, it should firstly alarm the audiologist when dealing with an HIV
patient to be alert to an array of possible pathologies. Secondly it should serve as a
reminder to any health care professional to take care to protect themselves from
possible contamination.
Meningitis
Bacterial meningitis is an established risk factor for the occurrence of sensorineural
hearing loss (SNHL), especially in children (Smith, Bale & White, 2005), and is a
common life-threatening disease in HIV/AIDS (Goetgebugher, West, Wermenbol,
Cadbury, Milligan, Lloyd-Evans & Weber, 2000; Molyneux, 2006). Although the
occurrence of all opportunistic infections, including meningitis, decreases significantly
due to effective ART, 5%-8% of AIDS patients develop meningitis in the earlier
stages of the disease (Hoffmann et al., 2007; Aberg & Powderly, 1998). Literature
also report on various cases of HIV associated meningitis causing hearing loss
(Agwu, Pasternak, Joyner, Carver, Francis & Siberry, 2006; Goetgebugher et al.,
44
2000; Molyneux, 2006). Being an established risk factor for hearing loss and
considering that it is known that HIV patients are more prone to meningitis as an
opportunistic infection (Aberg & Powderly, 1998), it is concluded that sensorineural
hearing loss associated with meningitis would be relatively common in HIV patients.
Otosyphilis
Otosyphyllis is a common opportunistic infection and affects the cochleovestibular
system in particular (Mishra et al., 2008) and often presents with a sudden onset,
rapidly progression, and unilateral or bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Its severity
may fluctuate (Newton, 2006).
A case series of 8 HIV patients with serologically confirmed syphilis were studied. All
of these subjects presented with tinnitus, 7 presented with subjective hearing loss of
which 3 experienced bilateral hearing loss. Three patients experienced the complete
spectrum of tinnitus, hearing loss and vertigo. All patients had evidence of
sensorineural hearing loss which presented bilaterally in 5 patients and unilaterally in
2 (Mishra et al., 2008). In addition to this study, a study by Yimtae, Srirompotong,
Lertsukprasert (2007) studied 85 patients with otosyphilis retrospectively. Of these 85
patients, 56 were male and 29 female. The most common symptoms which
presented were hearing loss (90.6%), tinnitus (72.9%) and vertigo (52.9%). The
patterns of hearing loss in this study were varied. The most common manifestation in
this study was hearing loss of which the majority had a gradual onset (75.3%) and in
42.4% of cases, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss was symmetric.
In addition to the fact that otosyphilis is a established risk factor for hearing loss, it
often occurs in HIV patients who are often affected by syphilis at an accelerated rate,
in some cases leading to otosyphilis (Mishra et al., 2008; Chandrasekhar et al.,
2000). Otosyphyllis as opportunistic infection occurs frequently and causes hearing
loss, tinnitus and vertigo in HIV infected individuals (Yimtae et al., 2007; Mishra et al.,
2008).
A third possible mechanism of auditory dysfunction in patients with HIV is ototoxicity
caused by either the use of highly active antiretroviral drugs (HAART) or the use of
45
medication as treatment for opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS in HIV
patients.
2.8.5 HIV/AIDS related ototoxicity
Numerous general diseases are treated with drugs that have potentially toxic effects
on the ear (Garcia, Martinez, Agusti, Mencia & Asenjo, 2001). Ototoxicity has been
associated with damage to the outer hair cells in the cochlea as well as damage to
the eighth cranial nerve and has, in some cases, been shown to be reversible (Lyos,
1992). Due to the often extensive range of medications administered in treating HIV
as well as the secondary effects associated with HIV/AIDS, ototoxicity is a potentially
contributing factor to changes in the auditory system such as hearing loss (Bankaitis
& Keith, 1995). Ototoxicity related to HIV can be subdivided into two categories which
include ototoxicity due to the use of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART)
and ototoxicity due to medication used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS related
opportunistic infections.
2.8.5.1
HAART
Highly active antiretroviral therapy is used to treat HIV/AIDS and usually includes the
combination of three or more antiretroviral drugs (Hoffmann et al, 2007; Shibuyama
et al., 2006). This treatment has proven to be essential to the life-expectancy of
people infected with HIV (Shibuyama et al., 2006). HAART, however, has indicated
various adverse effects on patients (Shibuyama, 2006). Due to the fact that HAART
relies on pharmacological interventions which often include experimental drugs and
combinations of drugs, the potential risk for ototoxicity in these medications is high
(Bankaitis & Keith, 1995). The adverse effects of HAART has proven to include
potential ototoxicity; when reviewing literature it is clear that reported ototoxicity in
ART occurs more frequently in certain classes of ARV drugs than in other (Schouten,
Lockhart, Rees, Collier & Marra, 2006; Rey et al., 2002; Simdon et al., 2001;
Williams, 2001; Christensen et al., 1998; Marra et al., 1997; Bankaitis & Keith, 1995).
A reported association is present between hearing loss and ART in persons older
than 35 (Marra et al., 1997), but it is possible that age-related hearing loss may have
been a contributing factor in these findings. The medications involved in this study
were zidovudine (ZDV), didanosine (ddI), stavudine (d4T) and zalcitabine (ddC)
46
which are all in the ‘Nucleoside and Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors’
(NRTIs) class.
A further study by Christensen et al. (1998) revealed sensorineural hearing loss in a
child who received AZT and didanosine therapy which are also in the NRTI ARV
class. A significant shortening of ABR latencies were also observed after the initiation
of ART. Although there is a correlation between the onset of ART and symptoms,
other risk factors for hearing loss were not considered. Simdon et al. (2001) reported
three cases of possible NRTI associated ototoxicity in HIV patients. These cases
were all people older than 45 years who had a history of noise-induced hearing loss
and tinnitus as well as significant deterioration of hearing sensitivity with the use of
NRTI ART.
The findings in this study correlates well with the findings of Marra et al., (1997) who
revealed a significant relationship between age and NRTI related ototoxicity. This
study provides grounds for the suspicion that patients with existing risk factors for
hearing loss might be more susceptible to ART associated ototoxicity.
A case was presented by Colebunders, Depraetere, Wanzeele & Gehuchten (1998)
where a 37-year-old HIV infected male developed bilateral sensorineural hearing loss
as well as increased ABR latencies while taking ddI. After ddI therapy was
discontinued, the patient’s hearing sensitivity improved and progressed to normal.
However not confirmed, it is likely that the hearing loss was caused by ddI, especially
in the light of previous reports on NRTI associated ototoxicity.
In another case report, a health care worker who received postexposure prophylaxis
treatment after HIV exposure reported sudden bilateral hearing loss, dizziness and
tinnitus two weeks after the end of treatment (Rey et al., 2002). Treatment included
d4T, 3TC and NVP, two of which are NRTI’s. This case supports potential NRTI
associated ototoxicity.
Although hearing loss associated with NRTI treatment has been reported in various
studies, limited literature exists regarding monitoring of longitudinal effects of NRTI
47
treatment in patients who receive ART for the first time. Schouten et al. (2006)
introduced a study to determine whether ZDV and ddI are associated with
sensorineural loss in HIV infected patients. In contrast to various others, this study
revealed no significant hearing loss associated with the use of these NRTIs and
concluded that, if ART indeed does cause hearing loss, it is relatively uncommon.
Williams (2001) reported a 44-year-old man who started experiencing reduced
hearing sensitivity 4 weeks after starting treatment with protease inhibitor (PI) ART. A
moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss was confirmed after audiometric
evaluation. This regimen was discontinued and improvement in hearing sensitivity
was noted. The PI was replaced by EFZ which is in the NNRTI class of ART.
Audiometric testing 20 weeks later confirmed the improvement in hearing sensitivity
to near normal. This study implies the possibility of potential ototoxicity in ART
combinations of NRTIs and PIs, but the presence and history of other risk factors
such as opportunistic infections was not thoroughly investigated.
From the above mentioned studies it is clear that hearing loss associated with the
use of ART is a distinct possibility, but in many cases HAART associated hearing
loss often correlated with existing risk factors for hearing loss such as age and
history of noise exposure. It seems as if HAART, in addition to these risk factors
might have contributed in causing hearing loss.
In confirmation of this statement, a recent study was done on mice treated with ARV
drugs (Bektas, Martin, Stagner & Lonsbury-Martin, 2008). The test group of mice
were treated with NRTIs, (ZDV and 3TC) while the control group received no
medication. Both groups of mice were exposed to loud noise and the outcome was
assessed. It was found that a synergistic relationship exists between NRTIs and
noise exposure as the group exposed to ART produced more significant decreases in
DPOAE activity than those of noise exposure only (Bektas et al., 2008). This study
shows that ART may indeed predispose the patient to hearing loss in the presence of
other risk factors.
48
Further thorough (and thoroughly controlled) research studies are needed in order for
the health care professional to gain a thorough understanding of the potential effects
of HAART on the auditory mechanism and to explore these associations in depth
(Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010).
2.8.5.2
Treatment for opportunistic infections
Guidelines for the treatment of opportunistic infections were developed by the
Opportunistic Infections Working Group under the supervision of the Office of AIDS
Research Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Benson,
Kaplan, Masur, Pau & Holmes, 2008). These treatment guidelines include the
administering of various medications in certain specific dosages, some of which are
potentially ototoxic. Ototoxicity is related to the dosage as well as the duration of drug
administration (Newton, 2006).
The following table depicts those medications which are prescribed for the treatment
of opportunistic infections which have also proven to be ototoxic:
Table 2.9:
Ototoxic medication prescribed for the treatment of opportunistic
infections (Compiled from Benson et al.(2008) and Newton (2006)
Potentially ototoxic medication prescribed for the
treatment of opportunistic infections
Aminoglycoside
Quinine derivatives
antibiotics
Clarithromycin
Chloroquine
Azithromycin
Amikacin
Streptomycin
Vancomycin
Capreomycin
Limited reports exist on hearing loss due to ototoxicity, specifically in HIV patients
treated for opportunistic infections. It can be argued however, that due to the fact that
it is known that opportunistic infections are associated with severe immunodeficiency
(Hoffmann et al., 2007, Mohammed & Nasidi, 2006), the administering of these
49
potentially ototoxic medications would occur on a more frequent basis in this
population, thereby increasing potential hearing loss due to ototoxicity.
Myobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), for example, is a opportunistic infection commonly
associated with HIV and has greater impact on the mortality and morbidity of HIV
patients than any other opportunistic infection (Hoffmann et al.,2007; UNAIDS, 2008).
Tuberculosis reportedly affects one in every three individuals living with HIV today
(Chan, Perez, Ben & Ochoa, 2003). The clinical management of MTB-HIV coinfection is challenging due to drug interactions, overlapping side effects and low
compliance due to increased pill burden (Hoffmann et al., 2007). Due to the patients
low compliance, multiple drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis occurs more often,
ultimately leading to the administering of second line drugs such as streptomycin,
amikacin, capreomycin, prothionamide, moxifloxacin, levofloxacin, cycloserine and
linezolid (Hoffmann et al., 2007). Many of these second line antibiotics are known to
be severely ototoxic. Therefore, the occurrence of ototoxicity related to the treatment
of opportunistic infections would be more frequent.
It is, however, also true that the incidence of opportunistic infections has decreased
due to the significant increase in usage of HAART in HIV patients (Hoffmann et al.,
2007). This should significantly decrease the occurrence of ototoxicity in countries
where ART are readily available (Beck et al., 2006). In many developing countries
however, a high incidence of HIV/AIDS is seen and often various challenges exist
regarding the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and the provision of HAART to all patients with
HIV/AIDS (Beck et al., 2006). It can therefore be concluded that potential ototoxicity
in the treatment of opportunistic infections in HIV/AIDS patients remain a problem.
2.9
Conclusion
Because of the extended life expectancy of HIV/AIDS patients receiving ARV
treatment, it becomes increasingly important to address issues regarding quality of
life. The high incidence of HIV infection, the significant increase in reported infection
and the literature supporting the fact that HIV indeed has a significant effect on the
auditory system, make it necessary for professionals in Audiology to be equipped
50
with sufficient knowledge of the effect of HIV on the auditory system and the quality
of life of HIV patients.
Audiological manifestations of HIV/AIDS are an area of investigation that has been
neglected and systematic in depth studies are necessary to describe these
manifestations in order to equip the clinician with the relevant knowledge. Such
knowledge should improve the overall quality assessment and management
(Noffsinger & Friedman, 1996). With limited research in the fast growing HIV infected
population, it is essential to conduct thorough research on the prevalence and
incidence of audiological manifestations and symptoms in the HIV population.
51
CHAPTER 3
Method
3.1
Introduction
The purpose of this chapter is to describe the research method implemented in this
project; the research method should be seen as the ‘blueprint’ for the study. This
chapter provides a thorough and systematic description of the research method (or
operational framework) and addresses the research question posed in this study
(Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). This description should enable the reader to fully
comprehend the general approach and systematic processes followed in conducting
this study.
3.2
Research aims
The aims of the study are as follows:
Main aim:
To describe the auditory functioning of a group of adults infected with HIV and to
compare their hearing to that of a matched control group.
Sub-aims:
•
To describe the prevalence of auditory-and otological symptoms and
dysfunction in this group
•
To describe the characteristics of hearing loss within the subset of
participants with hearing loss according to the type, laterality, degree and
onset of hearing loss as a function of CD4+ count
•
To compare the prevalence and degree of hearing loss as well as the
average thresholds of the HIV group to a control group, matched according
to age, gender and working environment
52
3.3
Research design
Firstly, for the purposes of this study a descriptive, cross-sectional research design
was employed with the intent to describe characteristics and associative relations
between variables (Maxwell & Satake, 2006). Characteristics of HIV as they relate to
the auditory system were studied and relationships between HIV and auditory
symptoms were explored (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). A cross-sectional research design
was followed because people from several different age groups were sampled
(Leedy & Ormrod, 2005) and observations were made and audiological test
procedures were conducted at a specific point in time (Maxwell & Satake, 2006).
Cross sectional studies collect information at a single point in time, examining
conditions in one or more location. Two hundred participants were interviewed and
tested in individual consultations at a clinic for infectious diseases at 1 Military
Hospital. The advantages of utilizing a cross sectional research design included time
efficiency, economical viability as well as being well suited to explore existing
attributes in various people (Maxwell & Satake, 2006).
Secondly, a comparative design was followed as two groups (The HIV group and a
later compiled control group) were compared on one variable, in this case hearing
thresholds. In order to set up a control group for purposes of comparison, the
hospital’s data system was searched to find a control for each participant in the HIV
group, matched according to age, gender and working environment, with the
condition that the individuals in the control group were not HIV positive. One hundred
and eighty four of the participants in the HIV group could be successfully matched
with a control subject. Consequently, for purposes of comparison between the HIV
and control group, the data of 184 participants was used in each group. A detailed
description of the process followed for compiling the control group follows later in this
chapter. Figure 3.1 is a graphic representation of the relationship between the aims
of the study and the research design employed for attaining the sub-aims.
53
RESEARCH
DESIGN
SUB-AIMS
MAIN AIM
Figure 3.1: Aims and research design
3.4
MAIN AIM
To describe and compare the auditory functioning of a group of adults
infected with HIV to that of a matched control group.
SUB AIM 1
SUB AIM 2
SUB AIM 3
To describe
the
prevalence
of auditoryand
otological
symptoms
and
dysfunction
in this group
To describe the
characteristics of
hearing loss within the
subset of participants
with hearing loss
according to the type,
latreality, degree and
onset of hearing loss as
a function of CD4+
count
To compare the
prevalence and
degree of hearing loss
as well as the average
thresholds of the HIV
group to a control
group, matched
according to age,
gender and working
environment.
Descriptive, crosssectional research
design
200 Test subjects
Comparative
research design
184 Test subjects vs 184
Control matched subjects
Ethical considerations
Because human beings were the focus of this investigation ethical issues had to be
considered thoroughly (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). The study commenced as soon as
ethical clearance was obtained from the Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of
Humanities at the (Appendix A) as well as from 1 Military Hospital Research
Committee (Appendix B). The following ethical considerations were taken into
account throughout the planning and execution of the study:
3.4.1 Protection from harm
No physical or psychological harm were done to individuals who participated in the
study. The audiological testing posed no risks greater than the normal risks of day to
54
day living and the subjects were not exposed to unusual stress, embarrassment or
loss of self esteem (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005).
3.4.2 Informed consent
Informed consent ensured the full knowledge and co-operation of subjects, while also
resolving or relieving any possible tension, aggression, resistance or insecurity they
might have had (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). Participants were given the choice of
participating or not participating, as well as the option to withdraw participation at any
given time (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). Participants were informed of the nature of the
study by a letter requesting informed consent (Appendix C) which was provided
before any testing commenced. It was also only after the participant had granted
informed consent that the researcher accessed the patient’s medical record in order
to determine his/her HIV status. The said letter contained the following information:
A brief description of the nature of the study.
A description of what participation will involve, in terms of expectations and
duration of testing.
A statement indicating that participation is voluntary and can be terminated
at any time without penalty.
The guarantee that all responses will remain confidential and anonymous
as far as possible.
That informed consent, entitles the researcher to acquire any information
needed from the patient's medical history, including HIV status and CD4+
count if necessary.
Contact-details of the researcher and the study supervisor, should the
participant have any questions or concerns.
That it will be required of the participants to sign a letter of informed
consent before testing proceeds.
3.4.3 Voluntary participation
All participants had the choice of whether to participate in the study or not. The
participants received the letter requesting consent beforehand; this letter also
included the aim of the study. This enabled respondents to make their own decision
regarding their participation in the study. Subjects were given adequate opportunity
55
to ask questions before the study commenced, as well as during the investigation
(De Vos, 2002). Participants were also assured that they have the right to withdraw
from the study at any time without any adverse consequences.
3.4.4 Confidentiality / right to privacy
The right to privacy is the individual’s right to decide when, where, to whom and to
what extent his or her attitudes, beliefs and behaviour will be revealed (Singleton et
al., 1988, in De Vos, 2002). Against the background of HIV currently not being a
notifiable disease in South Africa (DOHSA, 2009) and due to the HIV status of the
participants in this study, one of the most important ethical considerations was the
protection of the respondent’s confidentiality. Confidentiality of participants was
ensured by the allocation of codes to each participant. All results were documented
and processed under that code for the duration of the study.
Furthermore, the
researcher handled all information as private and confidential. In terms of the
comparative study, no contact was made with any of the patients whose data were
used comparatively; due to the fact that no data was linked to any means of personal
identification, confidentiality was ensured in this part of the research as well.
3.4.5 Honesty towards participants and professional colleagues
Findings were reported in a complete and honest fashion, without misrepresenting or
intentionally misleading participants of the nature of the findings (Leedy & Ormrod,
2005). The letter requesting informed consent (Appendix C) explained beforehand
what the research involved to ensure that participants were fully informed. According
to Corey et al. (1993, in De Vos, 2002) deception involves withholding information or
offering incorrect information in order to ensure participation of subjects when they
would otherwise refuse it. No form of deception was inflicted on any of the
participants. The researcher also acknowledges all persons or references used in
this study.
3.4.6 Actions and competency of researchers
Researchers are ethically obliged to ensure that they are competent and adequately
skilled to undertake the proposed investigation (Sieber, 1982, in De Vos, 2002). The
researcher completed the degree B. Communication Pathology in the department of
56
Communication Pathology at the University of Pretoria in 2007 and is thereby a
qualified audiologist. The researcher also successfully completed an undergraduate
research project and therefore has the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue
further research. Said research was done under the supervision of a departmentally
assigned tutor with the required qualifications and experience in the clinical field as
well as in research and publication.
3.4.7 Co-operation with contributors
The involvement of a supervisor and co-supervisor were imperative in this study, and
their contribution is acknowledged with appreciation: Prof. De Wet Swanepoel
(Associate Professor, Department of Communication Pathology, University of
Pretoria and Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, Callier Center for
Communication Disorders) acted as research supervisor and Ms Barbara Heinze
(University of Pretoria) as co-supervisor. In the case of publication of this study, or of
any article/s flowing from it, shared authorship will be established in order to
acknowledge the supervisors’ contribution (De Vos, 2002).
3.4.8 Release or publication of the findings
An obligation rests on the researcher to report correctly on the analysis of the data
and the results of the study (Babbie, 2001, in De Vos 2002). Research findings and
results will be made public in formal writing in the form of a research report and
scientific articles that will be submitted to various scientific journals for possible
publication. The information will be formulated and conveyed, clearly and
unambiguously, to avoid or minimize misappropriation by participants, the general
public and colleagues. The shortcomings of the study are also mentioned in the
research report.
This section discussed the measures taken and considerations ensuring that the
study was conducted in an ethically sound manner. The following section provides
information regarding the selection criteria, selection procedure, and sample size of
participants.
57
3.5
Participants
The following section describes the criteria for the selection of participants, the
procedure for the selection of participants, the sample and the description of the
participants in this study.
3.5.1 Selection criteria
Participants in the experimental group in this study had to comply with the criteria set
out in Table 3.1. The table also provides a rationale for each criterion.
Table 3.1:
Selection
Criteria
Age
Selection criteria for the HIV group
Requirement
Participants were
required to be over the
age of 17.
Ethnicity
Participants could be
from any ethnic group.
Gender
Both male and female
participants were
included in the study.
Language
proficiency
The participants were
required to be proficient
in either Afrikaans or
English.
Noise
Exposure
No differentiation was
made regarding a history
of exposure to noise.
HIV status
Although every potential
participant at the
infectious disease clinic
who granted informed
consent was tested, only
the data of those who
were HIV positive was
used for data processing.
Rationale
The audiological and otological manifestations in
adults with HIV were investigated. No limit was set
in terms of maximum age of participants who were
willing to participate. Data for all age groups was
needed to determine the interactions between
various variables in this study.
No limitations were set as to the ethnicity of
participants since a representative image of this
population was aimed for, irrespective of ethnicity.
A convenience sample was used, thereby not
discriminating or pre-selecting any specific
participant.
In order to obtain a truly representative image of the
characteristics in this population and to be able to
do a comparison of the results for the different
sexes, no criterion to the exclusion of one or the
other gender was set.
Due to the fact that the researcher is proficient in
English and Afrikaans only, it was decided that only
participants who were proficient in either of these
languages would be allowed to take part in the
study. This contributed to the reliability of the
results.
In the case where a participant had a history of
exposure to noise, the type of noise exposure was
documented. This documentation could provide
important information regarding interaction between
certain variables.
The main aim of this study is to describe and
compare the auditory functioning of a group of
adults infected with HIV to that of a matched control
group.
58
Participants in the control group in this study had to comply with the criteria set out in
Table 3.2. The table also provides a rationale for each criterion.
Table 3.2:
Selection criteria for the control group
Selection Criteria
HIV status
Age, Gender and
Working environment
Requirement
Individuals included
in the control group
were required to be
HIV negative.
Individuals included
in this group were
individually
matched according
to age, gender and
working
environment.
Rationale
The main aim of this study included the
comparison of the HIV group to that of a
matched control group who was not HIV
positive.
In order to be able to compare these two groups
as efficiently and reliably as possible, the
individuals included in these groups had to be
as similar as possible with respect to these
variables.
This matching would, , as far as possible,
eliminates age effects due to presbycusis,
gender effects as well as possible noise induced
hearing loss (NIHL) due to noise exposure
levels in the working environment.
3.5.2 Selection Procedure
Appropriate sampling is one of the most important aspects of research (Maxwell &
Satake, 2006). The following sections explain the procedures used for the selection
of the HIV group as well as the control group.
3.5.2.1
Selection procedure for the HIV group
For the selection of the HIV group, a method of convenience sampling was used as
the researcher made no pretence of identifying a representative subset of the
population and selected from individuals who were readily available in the database
of the Infectious Disease Clinic (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). In order to introduce this
research project to the patients of the infectious disease clinic, posters (Appendix E)
were put up in waiting rooms and pamphlets (Appendix F) were handed out to all
patients upon arrival. After this initial introduction to the study, patients were
approached to it determine whether they could communicate in either English or
Afrikaans; those who could were subsequently asked to participate in the study.
Upon agreement, potential participants were handed the letter requesting informed
consent and given the chance to study it carefully before signing it. Only after the
patient signed the letter granting consent could he/she be classified as a participant
in this study and testing could commence. For ethical purposes, each participant's
59
HIV status was only confirmed after consent was granted. Only those participants
who confirmed to be HIV positive were included in the HIV group, although all
individuals who granted consent were tested, irrespective of their HIV status. The
results of those whose HIV seropositive status were not confirmed were discarded
and not included in the results of the experimental group.
3.5.2.2
Selection Procedure for the control group
Individuals for the matched control group in the comparative part of the study were
selected by purposeful non-probability sampling, making the process a deliberate
one. This was done in order to match each individual in the control group as closely
as possible in terms of age, gender and general working conditions with an individual
in the experimental group. The hospital's data system was ideal for the purposes of
matching.
An annual concurrent health assessment (CHA) is conducted on all members of the
Military through which all aspects of health are assessed and monitored. Included in
this assessment protocol is the annual screening evaluation of hearing thresholds.
This enabled the researcher to obtain the most recent results for similar audiometric
tests for each of the control group members. Through this system it could also be
ensured that all members used in the control group were indeed not diagnosed with
HIV. Since HIV antibodies are absent in the very early stages of infection, it was
however impossible to diagnose individuals who was in the very early stage of HIV
infection. Therefore the possibility exists that some individuals in the control group
were indeed HIV positive but had not been diagnosed.
3.5.3 Sample size and description of sample
A total of 200 participants were included in the HIV positive group (the experimental
group). The distribution of these 200 participants in CDC categories was as follows:
14% (n=28), 47% (n=94) and 39% (n=78) in respectively CDC Category 1, 2 and 3.
Table 3.3 describes the ages and gender of participants in CDC Category 1, 2 and 3.
60
Table 3.3:
Description of HIV group
CDC Category 1
>500cells/uL
n
28
CDC Category 2
200 – 499cells/uL
94
CDC Category 3
<200cells/uL
78
Age distribution
17-34 years:
16
35-54 years:
11
>55 years:
1
17-34 years:
27
35-54 years:
64
>55 years:
3
17-34 years:
22
35-54 years:
56
>55 years:
0
Gender distribution
M: 12
F: 16
M: 52
F: 42
M: 49
F: 29
In the matching process explained above, a total of 184 control subjects were
matched and included in the control group. A total of 16 individuals could not be
exactly matched and therefore, in the comparative section of the study, only the
group of 184 HIV subjects who could be matched in the control group were used. In
the descriptive section of the study, however, the entire HIV group of 200 participants
was used. The sample size used in study is relatively large compared to similar
studies. Teggi et al. (2008) used a sample size of 60 participants in a cross-sectional
study while De Lange (2007) used a sample size of 54 participants. Khoza & Ross
(2002) used a sample size of 150 participants and Chandrasekhar, et al. (2000) used
a sample size of 50 participants in a case series. Larger sample sizes were used in
studies where medical records were reviewed retrospectively (McNaghten et al.,
2001; Roland et al., 2003). In the light of the above it is clear that the sample size of
200 used in this study is the largest and therefore considered to be adequate.
Table 3.4 shows how closely the experimental and control groups could be matched
in terms of age, gender and working environment. A comparison of the mean,
median and standard deviation for the two groups reveals that an exact match was
obtained. The distribution of male and female was also exactly matched. On the third
level of matching, however, it is clear that exact matching was not possible; in a few
cases no control could be found for a person in a specific working environment of
specific gender and a specific age. The numbers in the columns opposite the working
environment description gives an indication of how many control subjects could not
be matched on grounds of working environment. Upon considering all three
parameters of age, gender and work environment, however, the figures in last two
columns of Table 3.4 show that the matching of the two groups was as accurate as
could be.
61
Table 3.4:
Matching of participants in the HIV and control groups
HIV
GROUP
CONTROL
GROUP
37.99
38
6.66
37.99
38
6.66
GENDER
Male
Female
107
77
107
77
Dependant
RFMCF
Protection Serv
Motor Vehicle elec
Finance Official
Steward
Mil Int NCA/ASS
Pers
Leather Textile Work
Materiel Sup Clerk
Med Support Off
Med Support Op
Med Ord
Mil Int Off
Musician
Ops Emerg Ord
Pers Off (Mil)
Chef
Caterer
Carpenter
Dental Sddidt
Telkom Opr
TO (Comint)
Tels Opr (Comsen)
Vehicle fitter
Supply Adm Official
Prov Admin Off
Infantry Off
Infactry Nco
Specf Opr
Count Int Of
Military Pol Official
Engrs Other Ranks
Tels Opr (Sys)
Elec (Radio)
Saa Rating
57
2
5
1
1
1
2
10
1
13
1
2
2
1
3
2
4
2
3
1
1
1
1
4
3
1
1
2
43
2
1
8
2
1
1
1
57
2
5
1
1
1
2
10
1
13
1
2
1
3
2
1
4
2
3
1
1
1
1
4
3
1
1
2
40
2
1
8
2
1
1
1
3.6
(Mustering classification)
Mean
Median
Standard Deviation
WORKING ENVIRONMENT
AGE
Material and apparatus
In the following section, the material and apparatus used in this study are described
and motivated. Material and apparatus used in this study are categorized into three
categories as outlined below.
62
3.6.1 Material and apparatus for infection control
Due to the contagious nature of HIV it was necessary to implement effective infection
control measures. Firstly, these measures were implemented to minimize or eliminate
the spread of disease and secondly, implementation of these measures was based
on the assumption that every patient, any bodily fluid, and any substance or agent
was potentially infectious (Bankaitis, 2010). The precautions that were implemented
to minimize or eliminate risk of the spread of disease are discussed below:
Surgical gloves
Throughout the study, whenever the researcher was in contact with participants,
appropriately sized surgical gloves (Bankaitis, 2010) were used as a measure of
infection control (Siegel, Rhinehart, Jackson, Chiarello & the Healthcare Infection
Control Practises advisory committee, 2007). According to guidelines (Siegel et al.,
2007) gloves were changed after consultation with each participant. In this study,
exposure to potentially infectious materials was limited to possible cerumen exposure
as well as exposure to skin secretions and excretions around the auricle.
The
wearing of gloves is indicated when hands are likely to become contaminated with
potentially infectious material such as blood, body fluid, secretions and excretions
(Siegel et al., 2007).
Disinfectant
Hand hygiene is the single most important procedure effectively preventing the
spread of disease (Bankaitis & Kemp, 2003, 2005). The following routine was
followed for maintaining hand hygiene (Bankatis et al, 2005; Bankaitis & Kemp, 2005)
by thoroughly washing the hands:
Prior to initial contact with a patient, at the beginning of each patient
appointment
After each patient contact
After glove use, immediately after removing gloves
Prior to eating, drinking, smoking and applying of lotion or makeup
After using bathroom facilities
Any time it was felt to be necessary and appropriate
63
These protocols were strictly followed to prevent possible infection and spread of
disease. The researcher made use of both hospital-grade soap as well as no-rinse as
hand disinfectant (Siegel et al., 2007).
Sterilization substances
Critical instruments for sterilization include reusable non-invasive instruments that
come to contact with intact mucous membranes or body substances. Within the
context of this research project, otoscopic speculums as well as tympanometric
probes were, as a measure of infection control, classified as critical for sterilization
(Bankaitis, 2010). Due to the manufacturing material of the objects being sterilized,
cold sterilization techniques were utilized (Bankaitis, 2010). Otoscopic speculums
and tympanometric probes were firstly cleaned by soaking and washing in a general
disinfectant fluid also used in the hospital. After general cleaning of the objects, they
were soaked overnight in hydrogen peroxide. They were removed the following day
and placed on an absorbing surface to ensure thorough drying.
3.6.2 Material and apparatus for data collection
The material and apparatus were used for data collection is described below.
Interview questions (Appendix G)
Upon arrival, each participant was interviewed and in each interview 13 standard
questions were asked. The purpose of these questions was mainly to obtain a brief
medical history and to identify pre-existing risk factors for hearing loss as well as to
identify the presence of subjective hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo. Questions were
formulated in such a manner that in cases where the answer to a question was ‘No’,
the irrelevant questions following that specific question were left out. This was done
in order to avoid unnecessary questions and time spent. All questions were
formulated in the same manner to all participants to further ensure reliability. Table
3.4 (page 65) presents the specific questions asked, as well as the rationale for the
inclusion of each question in the interview.
64
Medical file checklist (Appendix H)
During consultation with the participant a checklist was used and the patient's
medical file was consulted at the same time. This checklist aimed at obtaining
information that the participant himself/herself could not provide. Table 3.5 (page 66)
provides the areas of information that was obtained from medical files as well as the
rationale for obtaining this information. It should be noted that information from the
medical files was limited because the consulted files used were those of the
infectious disease clinic and contained mainly information regarding HIV status and
not necessarily associated opportunistic infections and other related diseases and
symptoms.
65
Table 3.5:
Nr
1
Interview questions and reasons for inclusion (Appendix G)
Interview questions
Does anyone in your family
have childhood hearing loss?
2
Do you experience problems
with your hearing?
3
Did these problems start
suddenly, or did it progress
slowly?
4
How often does your hearing
problem cause you to
struggle with hearing?
Do you ever or have you
recently experienced any
earache?
Have you been exposed to
loud noise before?
5
6
7
Describe the type of noise?
8
Do you experience a ringing
or whistling sound in your
ear/s?
How often do you experience
this sound?
To what extent does this
ringing sound affect you?
Do you experience dizziness
or imbalance?
How often do you experience
dizziness or imbalance?
To what extent does this
dizziness or imbalance affect
you?
9
10
11
12
13
Rationale
The presence of congenital hearing loss has proven to be a
significant risk factor for hearing loss. The consideration of
all possible risk factors was important in order to establish a
correlation between the existence of auditory symptoms in
HIV patients and risk factors for auditory dysfunction. This
question enabled the researcher to eliminate possible
causes for hearing loss in participants.
The question aimed at determining whether the participant
experiences subjective hearing loss. This gave the
researcher an indication of the presence of subjective
hearing loss and served as a base from which further
information regarding the participant's hearing status could
be determined, as well as statistical prevalence of
subjective hearing loss.
To determine the nature of the onset of hearing loss. This
enabled the researcher to identify possible causes of
hearing loss and to investigate the possible roll of HIV in
these symptoms of auditory dysfunction.
Statistical prevalence of subjective hearing loss in this
population
Statistical prevalence of chronic ear ache as a symptom in
HIV patients
To determine the occurrence of noise exposure as a risk
factor for hearing loss. In order for the researcher to identify
noise exposure as the cause of participants' hearing loss as
opposed to HIV related causes. The relationship between
the use of ARV drugs and prior noise exposure could also
be investigated.
To determine the type of noise exposure present ,because
the type of noise exposure may influence the severity of
hearing loss.
The statistical prevalence of subjective tinnitus in the
sample as reported by HIV patients
Statistical prevalence data of tinnitus frequency
Statistical prevalence data of tinnitus severity
The statistical prevalence of vertigo as reported by HIV
patients in the study
The statistical frequency of vertigo episodes in participants
of the study, as reported by HIV patients in the sample
The severity of vertigo episodes as statistical data reported
by HIV patients in the sample
66
Table 3.6:
Medical file checklist (Appendix H)
Nr
1
Medical file checklist
Date of birth
2
CD4+ count or
percentage
Rationale
To determine each participant's exact age which is a
variable to be considered in each case, as age may
influence auditory functioning. Interactions between
different variables were also investigated.
To determine the stage of HIV infection and to correlate
various audiological manifestations with certain levels of
CD4+ cells.
Otoscope
A Welsh & Allan Pocket Professional otoscope was used to conduct otoscopic
examinations in participants. Otoscopy was done to identify possible pathology or
abnormalities of the outer ear and tympanic membrane.
Audiometer
An Interacoustics AT235h audiometer with TDH 39 – supra-aural earphones was
used to conduct audiometric evaluation in participants. This audiometer had been
calibrated in January of the relevant year, and is calibrated annually. Pure tone
audiometry assesses the degree, configuration, type and laterality of the hearing loss
across octave frequencies. Although pure tone audiometry wasn’t conducted in a
sound proof booth, a baseline sound level was determined every day and used as a
correction factor in order to determine accurate hearing thresholds in all participants;
this was necessary for the purposes of the descriptive section of the study. The
following frequencies were assessed: 0.5 kHz, 1 kHz, 2 kHz, 3 kHz and 4 kHz.
Tympanometer
A Interacoustics AT235h middle ear analyzer, with a 226Hz probe tone was used to
conduct tympanometry and to generate tympanograms for each participant. This
equipment is calibrated annually and was calibrated in January of the relevant year.
Tympanometry was conducted in order to assess middle ear functioning and detect
possible middle ear effusion. A series of probes ranging in size were used according
to the size of the participant’s ear canal in order to ensure a thorough seal and
optimal tympanometric results.
67
Oto-acoustic emission
A Biologic Scout Sport System was used in conducting oto-acoustic emission testing
in participants. Oto-acoustic emission testing is conducted in order to assess the
integrity of outer hair cell functioning. Disposable foam probes were used to insert
into the ear canal in order to obtain a proper seal for optimal test results.
3.6.3 Material and apparatus for data capturing, processing and analysis
In order for data obtained during data collection to be interpreted and processed in a
meaningful manner, proper management thereof was necessary. For this reason
various data capturing, processing and analysis procedures were used in order to
ensure that the process is meaningful. This section provides an overview of the
material and apparatus used in the capturing, processing and analysing data.
Notebook computer (Hardware)
A Dell Latitude D630 was used as hardware in conjunction with the necessary
software program. The computer was also utilized for the storage of data.
Microsoft Excel (Software)
This spreadsheet program was adapted for this study (Appendix I) in order for the
researcher to feed data into the program during the process of data collection. This
enabled the researcher to work time efficiently and ensured a higher level of data
reliability by eliminating an additional data typist to feed this information into the
program. This program was also used in the processing of this data since various
statistical formulas are compatible with this program. Data was also stored on the
computer in this format.
Data capturing sheet
As mentioned earlier, for purposes of compiling an exactly matched control group,
data had to be captured on the system of the hospital where research was
conducted. The standard data capturing sheets which were in use in the Audiology
department of this hospital were used. (Appendix D).
68
3.7
Pilot study
A preliminary study was conducted in order to determine the feasibility of the study,
to test the efficacy of procedures used in the study and to assess the practicality of
questions, procedures etc. Five patients were asked (and consented) to participate in
the pilot study and the full series of tests, questions and procedures (as for the main
study) were conducted on each of these participants. All participants in the pilot study
complied with the selection criteria as set out for all participants. After the conduction
of the preliminary study, no major changes were made to questions, procedures etc.,
as little or no problems were noted during the execution of this study. In the pilot
study pruritis of the ear was often reported, and was noted when it was mentioned
out of the participant's own accord. Some degree of apathy was evident among these
patients as well as a lack of interest in participating. This problem was addressed by
increased verbal motivation by the researcher and the nursing staff at the infectious
disease clinic. The use of pamphlets (Appendix E), explaining the procedures and
purpose of the study in simple terms as well as small tangible gifts of appreciation for
participating was also used for motivation. The participants included in the pilot study
were also included in the final results of the HIV group because no significant
changes were made to the test battery or method after conduction of the pilot study.
3.8
Research procedures
A description of the procedures and steps followed in this study, specifically with
regard to collection, capturing, processing and analysis of data is presented in the
sections below.
3.8.1 Data collection procedures
3.8.1.1
Interviews
Participants were told that they will be asked a few short questions. They were
requested to answer these questions clearly and honestly. The complete set of
questions was administered verbally (Appendix G). In the case where different
options were available, the researcher provided the options and the participant was
expected to choose the option applicable to him/her. In order to ensure reliability and
repeatability, questions were formulated identically for each participant. In cases
69
where clarification was necessary, it was provided. (The list of questions as well as
the rationale and supporting literature is discussed thoroughly in Table 3.4)
3.8.1.2
Medical records
Medical records were consulted to obtain the exact date of birth of the participant as
well as the most recent CD4+count. Due to the fact that CD4+ counts were used as
part of the cross-sectional aspect of this study, the most recent CD4+ count was
used for classification purposes. In instances where individuals’ CD4+ count had
perhaps increased with use of ART and consequently caused him/her to be classified
into an earlier stage, the most recent count was still used irrespective of earlier
classification. Unfortunately, limited information was available in these files. Aspects
such as previous ototoxic medication use and associated opportunistic infections
could not be obtained from the file.
3.8.1.3
Otoscopic examination
The condition of the outer ear and tympanic membrane was assessed through
otoscopic examination in order to identify any pathology such as inflammation, blood,
discharge, otomysis, osteomas, perforations, myringitis, tympanosclerosis and any
other possible pathology of the ear canal and tympanic membrane that might lead to
hearing loss. Table 3.7 (page 70) indicates the protocol, relevance and clinical
application of the otoscopic examination.
Table 3.7: The protocol, relevance and clinical application of otoscopic
examination (Debonis & Donohue, 2004).
PROCEDURE
OTOSCOPIC
EXAMINATION
PROTOCOL
Participants were informed of the
procedure to follow.
The appropriate speculum was selected
according to size. The pinna was
subsequently gently pulled up and
backwards in order to open the ear canal.
Observations of the pinna, external ear
meatus and tympanic membrane were
made and any observed conditions were
coded and entered into the Excel data
sheet in the different codes allocated.
CLINICAL APPLICATION
The otoscopic examination enabled
the researcher to visualize and
evaluate the condition of the ear
canal and tympanic membrane for
pathologies such as infection,
myringitis, perforations,
tympanosclerosis and landmarks
such as the light reflex, malleus and
colour of the ear canal and tympanic
membrane.
Table 3.8 presents the description of normative data and possible landmarks used to
interpret otoscopic observations during data collection.
70
Table 3.8: Interpretation of the otoscopic examination (Martin & Clark, 2006;
Gold & Tami, 1998; Debonis& Donohue, 2004).
Observations of
characteristics
Research
Procedure
3.8.1.4
Otoscopic examination of the
external auditory canal
Otoscopic examination of the
tympanic membrane
Normal characteristics:
Healthy ear canal
No occluding wax
Normal characteristics:
Pearly white color
Light reflex
Visible malleus
Abnormal characteristics:
Discharge
Foreign objects
Occluding wax
Red ear canal
Growths
Stenosis
Blood
Cholesteatoma
Abnormal characteristics:
Scarring
Perforated TM
Fluid behind TM
Red/Inflamed
Retracted TM
Tympanometry
A tympanogram were obtained for each ear. Tympanometric measurements were
used to assess the middle ear functioning of the participant and thereby enabling the
researcher to differentiate between conductive or cochlear pathology. Tympanometry
is an objective test which assesses middle ear volume, compliance and pressure and
is a valuable tool to cross-check pure tone results (Hall & Mueller, 1998). Table 3.9
provides the protocol, relevance and clinical applications of tympanometry in this
research. Table 3.10 provides the normative data and the interpretations of results in
this study.
Table 3.9: Tympanometric protocols, relevance and clinical applications (Hall
& Mueller, 1998; Gold & Tami, 1998).
PROTOCOL
A calibrated GSI Tympstar tympanometer with a 226Hz probe tone was used.
MEASUREMENT
TYMPANOMETRIC
The participant was instructed to be as quiet as possible and not to talk, yawn, swallow or
cough throughout the measurement.
An appropriate probe tip was selected and placed on the probe. The probe was inserted into
the ear canal of the participant in such a manner that a seal was obtained.
The tympanogram was measured automatically once a seal had been obtained.
The measurement was repeated to ensure reliability and accurate measurement.
Values for middle ear compliance, pressure and volume were recorded into
the Excel data sheet (Appendix I).
The same procedure was followed for the other ear.
71
Table 3.10: Interpretation of tympanometric measurements (Hall & Mueller,
1998; Gold & Tami, 1998).
Measurement
Normative data from
Interpretations
literature
Static acoustic compliance
0.6ml - 2ml for adults
(Debonis & Donohue, 2004).
0.3mm³ – 1.7mm³ for adults
(Martin & Clark, 2006:154;
(Debonis & Donohue, 2004).
Volumes smaller than 0.6ml could be
indicative of excessive wax or incorrect
placement of probe tip in the ear canal
(Debonis & Donohue, 2004). Volumes
larger than 2ml would most likely be due to a
perforation of the Tympanic Membrane or an
open PE tube.
It is important to consider the possibility of a
perforation with a middle ear disease
presenting with normal ear canal volume
(Martin & Clark, 2006).
Static compliance values smaller than
0.3mm³ indicates a stiff middle ear system,
whilst values greater than 1.7mm³ indicates
increase mobility of the middle ear system.
Pathologies that might lead to increased
mobility includes:
Ossicular chain dislocation
Pathologies that might lead to a stiff middle
ear system includes:
Fluid accumulation
Poorly healed perforations
Poor mobility of the ossicular chain
(Martin & Clark, 2006)
Tympanometric peak
pressure
Tympanometric measurements
Ear canal volume
0.9ml - 2ml for adults
(Martin & Clark, 2006)
-100 daPa to +50 daPa
(Debonis & Donohue, 2004).
Pathology associated with negative
pressures greater than -100 daPa are
usually indicative of Eustachian Tube
dysfunction.
Crying and nose blowing might be
associated with pressures greater than 50
daPa.
(Debonis & Donohue, 2004)
72
3.8.1.5
Pure tone audiometry
Pure tone audiometry was conducted to determine behavioural hearing thresholds of
each participant. The nature, degree and configuration of hearing loss were
delineated from these thresholds. The results were classified according to type and
nature of hearing loss; the categories include conductive hearing loss and
sensorineural hearing loss. No means for the identification of a mixed hearing loss
were available and it was consequently not added as a classification of type of
hearing loss. For this reason a conductive hearing loss, as classified in this study,
may have a sensorineural component and is also a possible mixed hearing loss. In
cases where a conductive hearing loss was present in one ear and a sensorineural
hearing loss in the other, it was classified as a combined hearing loss.
The degree of hearing loss was classified as being slight, mild, moderate, severe,
severe to profound and profound. Bone conduction audiometry was not conducted
due to the fact that a soundproof booth was not available for testing.
The following protocol was followed:
Participants were seated in a quiet room facing away from the audiometer and
researcher. The participant was told that earphones were to be placed on
his/her ears, and that he/she should listen carefully to the sounds being
presented; also that the sounds would be presented extremely softly and
he/she was asked to respond to the sound by pressing the button whenever
he/she becomes aware of the sound. The participant was asked to stop the
researcher at any time when he/she wanted to ask a question.
Earphones were placed on the participants ears after instructions had been
given. Thresholds were determined for 500Hz, 1000Hz, 2000Hz, 3000Hz and
4000Hz. The procedure for the determination of thresholds was as follows:
Pure tones were presented at around 30 dB above the expected threshold,
usually at 30 dB. Pulsed tones were mostly used. The auditory pure tone
stimulus was presented at 30 dB HL. In case of a response, the tone intensity
was decreased in 10 dB steps until the subject no longer responded. The
73
intensity was then increased in 5 dB steps until the subject responded 50% of
the time. If the subject did not respond to the initial presentation at 30 dB HL,
intensity was increased in 10dB steps until the subject responded. As soon as
there was a response, the tone was decreased in 10 dB steps until the subject
no longer responded. Subsequently the tone was increase in 5 dB steps until
the subject responded 50% of the time. This level was recorded as the
threshold for the specific frequency.
For the purposes of the descriptive section (200 participants) of the research,
a biological baseline was acquired. A person with normal hearing was tested
each morning before the data collection commenced, determining the baseline
sound levels in the room in order for the researcher to subtract these threshold
values at each frequency from the results of the participants in order to acquire
accurate thresholds.
For the purposes of the comparative section (184 HIV participants and 184
control-matched participants) the baseline calibration values explained above
was not subtracted from the results because the audiometric data used for the
control group was acquired through screening procedures as indicated in the
Standard Working Procedure (SWP) of the SAMHS (Appendix J). These
guidelines do not stipulate that baseline values should be subtracted from
obtained thresholds. For this reason the data used for comparative purposes
was hearing thresholds not corrected by subtracting baseline values. In this
manner it was confirmed that, in comparing the HIV and control group findings,
the appropriate values were compared to ensure reliability and validity.
The interpretation of pure tone results were done according to table 3.11
following table:
74
Table 3.11: Interpretation of pure tone results (Hall & Mueller, 1998; Gold &
Tami, 1998)
Normative data from literature
Interpretations
The degree of hearing loss is
determined by calculating the average
of the pure tone threshold for 500Hz,
1000Hz and 2000Hz (Hall & Mueller,
1998).
For purposes of this research project:
Degree of Hearing loss
The pure tone average was calculated for each
participant and the degree of hearing loss
determined according to the classification
described.
The following classification of hearing
loss degree were used (Clark, 1981):
PTA
DEGREE OF HL
0dB – 15dB
16dB – 25dB
26dB – 40dB
41dB – 55dB
56dB – 70dB
71dB – 90dB
91dB +
Normal
Slight HL
Mild HL
Moderate HL
Severe HL
Severe - profound HL
Profound HL
Type of hearing loss
Due to the fact that no bone conduction
audiometry was conducted, the type of hearing
loss could not be defined in the traditional
manner of comparing air conduction and bone
conduction thresholds. See table below.
For the purposes of this study, a sensorineural
hearing loss (SNHL) was defined as abnormal
pure tone thresholds (PTA>15dB) in the
presence of type A, As, Ad and C
tympanograms.
Conductive hearing loss (CHL) was defined
as abnormal pure tone thresholds (PTA>15dB)
in conjunction with type B tympanograms.
Mixed hearing loss could not be substantially
defined without the inclusion of bone conduction
thresholds. Conductive pathologies therefore
might therefore also contain a possible
sensorineural component.
Tymp Type
A/Ad/As/C
B
3.8.1.6
PTA
>25dB
>25dB
Type of HL
SNHL
CHL
Distortion product oto-acoustic emission testing
DPOAE testing is an objective assessment of the outer hair cell functioning and does
not test of hearing sensitivity. This objective test allows the researcher to compare
and confirm results obtained by pure tone audiometry. Table 3.11 provides a
thorough description of the procedures and protocol that were followed to elicit
DPOAE responses.
75
Table 3.12: Protocol for eliciting distortion product oto-acoustic emissions
PROTOCOL
The Bio-logic OAE scout system was used.
The participant’s allocated number was entered into the software of the equipment.
The DPOAE 2-8 kHz – High noise protocol was selected.
The following Frequencies were used:
F1
6516Hz
4594Hz
3281Hz
2297Hz
1641Hz
GM
7206Hz
5083Hz
3616Hz
2542Hz
1818Hz
The intensity parameters was 65dB (L1) and 55dB (L2) consecutively.
Test ear was selected on the software.
The participant was instructed to remain quiet during the test procedure.
The appropriate foam probe size was selected.
The foam probe was compressed and inserted snugly into the participant’s ear canal.
The test protocol was started.
The results of the test was saved in PDF format and printed.
The distortion product and noise floor at each frequency was recorded in the data capturing sheet
The results were interpreted and described according to literature and are presented
in Table 3.13.
Table 3.13: Interpretation of distortion product oto-acoustic emissions
Normative data from literature
DPOAE MEASUREMENTS
F2
7969Hz
5625Hz
3984Hz
2813Hz
2016Ha
The distortion product – noise floor
difference – is an important and
essential indicator of the presence of
the oto-acoustic emission. The
following is used as classification
guidelines:
DP- NF
> 10dB
6 - 10dB
< 6dB
RESULT
Present OAE
Present but reduced
OAE
Absent OAE
Interpretations
Present OAEs:
Present OAEs are indicative of normal middle ear
functioning and possibly either normal cochlear
functioning or mild cochlear hearing loss. If OAEs
are present in the presence of a hearing loss, it
may be indicative of a neural hearing loss or
retrocochlear dysfunction.
Absent OAEs:
Absent OAEs in the presence of SNHL are
indicative of outer hair cell cochlear damage, but
does not rule out possible retrocochlear damage.
(Martin & Clark, 2006)
Five frequencies were assessed in each ear. For purposes of this research, when 3 or more
of the 5 frequencies were found to be normal, the OAE were classified as normal.
Consequently, when 3 or more frequencies were found to be reduced or abnormal, the OAE
were classified as abnormal.
76
The data was collected and captured in a structured and planned manner and is
discussed in the following section.
3.8.2
Data recording procedures
Data was fed directly into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (Appendix I), developed by
the Department of Statistics of the University of Pretoria, using a notebook computer.
In this way an additional step in the transferring of the data was avoided, thereby
ensuring enhanced reliability in data accuracy. All questions and test results in all
stages of the study were allocated a code and were also captured in coded format.
Information was also captured on data capturing sheets used by the Audiology
department of 1 Military Hospital for capturing on their system.
3.8.3 Data analysis procedures
Data obtained from the data collection procedures were analyzed in terms of the
prevalence of auditory and otological dysfunction. The analysis further aimed at
identifying the nature, degree and type of hearing loss. The participants in the HIV
group were grouped into 3 CD4+ stages or categories as defined by the CDC
classification (1993). The prevalence, type, nature and degree of auditory dysfunction
and symptoms were grouped and classified for each of these 3 groups of CD4+
counts.
Different statistical methods were used to analyze the data. First, basic analysis such
as frequencies, cross-tabulations, graphical presentations and descriptive statistics
were used to summarize the collected data. Subsequently the ANOVA model were
employed, logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression analyses were done
to determine the effects of the CD4+ count and disease progression on various
audiological manifestations of HIV. The resulting regression coefficients quantified
the type of association between the predictor variable and the respective dependent
variable. The associations of the CD4+ counts category and auditory manifestations
of HIV were also investigated using a chi-square test. A p-value of <.05 was
considered statistically significant and all reported p-values were two-tailed. In order
to determine the effect size of different variables, the total variation was considered.
The approximately unbiased, Semipartial Omega-Square values were used to
77
classify the effect size. This was used due to the nature of data which was
categorical variables. The classification used for the effect size was as follows:
.10: Small effect, where 1% variance is explained
.30: Medium effect, where 9% variance is explained
.50: Large effect, where 25% variance is explained
In the comparative section, basic analysis such as frequencies, cross-tabulations,
graphical presentations and descriptive statistics were used to summarize the
collected data. The associations of the HIV group and control group were
investigated using the students T-test. A p-value of <.05 was considered statistically
significant and all reported p-values were two-tailed. All statistical analyses were
completed by using SAS Version 9.2 (SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, N. C).
3.9 Reliability and validity
Measurement is not only unavoidable in science and everyday life (Sechrest, 1984),
but also crucial to science (Carmines & Zeller, 1979). Reliability needs to be ensured
to ensure consistency in results (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005) whilst validity ensures
accuracy in results (Maxwell & Satake, 2006). Thorough consideration was given to
ensure optimal reliability and validity in this research. These aspects are discussed in
the sections that follow.
3.9.1 Reliability
Reliability reflects the degree to which a measuring instrument yields a certain
consistent result when the entity being measured has not changed (Leedy & Ormrod,
2005). In order to ensure the reliability of the research process and instruments, a
number of factors were considered. The following section will explain what measures
were taken in this study to ensure the reliability of the obtained data.
Instruments
The audiological instruments used in this study are calibrated on an annual basis.
The equipment were also tested on the researcher each morning before testing
commenced to ensure that equipment yielded reliable results, thereby establishing
that the reliability of this equipment is high. In order to ensure reliability in the
78
conducting of interviews, a standard set of questions were formulated (Appendix G)
and this set was used for all participants. The researcher did not deviate from these
questions, thereby enhancing reliability of the results.
The researcher
All tests conducted on the participants in the HIV group as well as all interviews and
medical record reviews were done by the researcher herself, thereby ensuring tester
reliability for the HIV group. No control was available for determining the reliability of
the testers for the control group; however, all personnel employed by the SAMHS for
conducting Concurrent Health Assessment audiograms have to comply with a certain
minimum training and follow the Standard Working Procedure (Appendix J) for the
conduction of audiological screening. Testing was conducted in the same manner as
prescribed in the SWP of the SAMHS to ensure maximum reliability for and the
control group as well.
Test environment
The testing environment remained the same throughout the study and various
measures were implemented to ensure that it remained the same. The same room
was used throughout the duration of the study, and baseline sound levels were
measured every day before the commencement of testing for the day. The testing
environment of the control group could not be monitored, due to the fact that the
researcher did not test the control group herself, and testing may have taken place in
a variety of different rooms. It is, however, Standard Working Procedure (Appendix J)
in the policy of the SAMHS that all Concurrent Health Assessments (those results
used for the control group) should be done in a quiet room, with various measures
being taken to ensure maximum silence for effective testing. Testing was conducted
in the same manner as prescribed in the Standard Working procedure of the SAMHS
to ensure maximum reliability. According to the SWP for conducting audiometric
screening, no specific guidelines are in place which states that a baseline audiogram
should be conducted and subtracted from thresholds acquired during audiometric
screening. This was therefore not done for the comparative section either.
79
Data capturing
Data obtained throughout the study was directly fed into the computer by the
researcher herself. This ensured that no third person was involved in transferring
data from a data capturing sheet into the computer; this significantly reduced the
margin for error in data capturing and enhanced the reliability of data.
The data was, however, also transferred to data capturing sheets which was read
into the computer by the data typist of the department of Audiology for purposes of
the SAMHS system. The control group was compiled with reference to the data of the
HIV group that was read onto the system.
3.9.2 Validity
Validity is the accuracy of a measurement, and represents the accuracy with which
the measurement reflects the underlying concept or variable that it was intended to
represent (Maxwell & Satake, 2006). Different types of validity may influence the
accuracy of the conclusions made in scientific research, and this section will be
presented in accordance with the types of validity relevant for this study.
Internal Validity
Internal validity is the extent to which causal inferences can be justified based on
observed changes in a dependent variable in response to systematic variations in an
independent variable (Maxwell & Satake, 2006).
In terms of the sampling used in this study, selection bias (Maxwell & Satake, 2006)
could not influence the study, since the researcher had no influence in the selection
of participants and it happened on a voluntary basis. It is possible that a higher
incidence of auditory dysfunction was recorded in this population, because of the
possibility that specifically those patients with auditory complaints decided to take
part in the study in order to possibly determine the cause and extent of their problem.
Patients who didn’t have any auditory symptoms may have decided not to participate
because they did not experience any difficulties in hearing.
80
In this study, certain measures were implemented to limit the possibility of
experimenter bias (Maxwell & Satake, 2006). A standard set of questions were
compiled and used, the researcher never deviated from these questions, thereby
ensuring that all participants were asked the same set of questions during the
interview. Several of the audiological tests such as tympanometry and OAE testing
are objective in nature, and the researcher had no ability to influence the outcomes of
these tests in any way. Otoscopy is an evaluation that does require interpretation by
the researcher, but it is also true that the results of otoscopy and tympanometry
should correspond to a certain extent. The results of otoscopy and tympanometry
obtained in this study were cross-checked and all results were considered to be
reliable.
External Validity
External validity refers to the degree to which the results of a study can be
generalized to other populations and is dependent on the existence of internal
validity. It is also referred to as the ‘usefulness’ of the findings beyond the study
(Maxwell & Satake, 2006).
In research, the possibility clearly exists that due to the fact that participants know
they are being evaluated, they could respond differently than in normal
circumstances. This is called subject bias (Maxwell & Satake, 2006). Various
measures were implemented to limit the possibility of subject bias. During the
interview, if the researcher noted any answers which did not correlate, the researcher
probed for more information. In terms of audiological testing as mentioned above,
OAE and tympanometry testing are both objective tests which neither researcher nor
the participant can influence in any way. The OAE tests should correlate with pure
tone audiometry to some extent. The researcher also employed certain tactics in
order to ensure that pure tone audiometry results were reliable. These included: Not
presenting pure tones rhythmically and alternating between the use of ascending and
descending methods of testing; and the sequence of test procedures were also
organized to such an extent that the researcher was able to cross check the results
obtained in pure tone audiometry. OAE testing was performed before pure tone
audiometry, thereby allowing the researcher access to OAE results while conducting
81
pure tone audiometry. In the case of significant discrepancies, pure tone audiometry
was repeated.
Various other aspects were also considered and can be collectively classified as
sample restrictions (Maxwell & Satake, 2006). The sample used in this study
included only patients of the 1 Military Hospital Infectious Disease Clinic, implying
that those participants in the CDC Category 3, were receiving ART at time of testing.
It is true, however, that the use of ART decreases the occurrence of opportunistic
infections and other HIV and AIDS related illnesses, thus decreasing the occurrence
of auditory effects due to opportunistic infections. At the other end of the spectrum,
more auditory effects may be present due to ART being potentially ototoxic. Due to
the nature of the sampling method, which was convenience sampling on the basis of
volunteers, the results may also have been influenced negatively. This was
discussed under 3.5.2.
Selection bias
A sample of originally 200 HIV subjects were selected of which only 184 could be
matched closely enough to control subjects of the same age, gender and working
environment. In terms of representativeness, the sample included 107 male
participants and 77 females. In terms of ethnicity, the vast majority of participants
(99%) was black and only 1% was white. The fact that there is such a large
difference in ethnic representativeness does not necessarily influence the validity of
the results because the matched control group was matched in terms of ethnicity as
well.
The possibility exist that participants who volunteered in the convenience
sampling method may have been more prone to participate if in fact they did have
some concern about their hearing, thereby introducing bias into the research results.
Those participants who declined to take part in the study may not have had any
concern regarding their hearing. The number of individuals who declined to take part
in the study was however not recorded.
In terms of measurements, measurement restrictions (Maxwell & Satake, 2006) were
limited, since test procedures that were used in this study, are standard procedures
used for audiological assessment. Test procedures such as audiometric brainstem
82
response (ABR) and acoustic reflexes were, for various reasons, not included in the
test battery. This did not however influence the validity of other test results, because
omitted are aimed at assessing different aspects than those considered in this study.
Statistical validity
Statistical validity refers to the relative truth from which certain statistical conclusions
are derived (Maxwell & Satake, 2006). An important aspect to consider is the
variability of data as well as the degree to which data were influenced by intended
systematic influences as opposed to uncontrolled chance factors (Maxwell & Satake,
2006). The datasheet and analyses were planned and conducted with consultants at
the Department of Statistics at the University of Pretoria. Statistical analyses were
also conducted in cooperation with qualified statisticians in the said department. This
ensured optimal statistical validity.
3.10 Conclusion
This chapter provides a thorough discussion of the research method, operational
framework and procedures implemented to acquire the data in correspondence with
the sub aims in order to address the main aim of the study. The descriptive,
comparative and cross-sectional research design is described, followed by a
description of the ethical procedures followed in this study. A description of the
material and apparatus for the data collection, capturing and processing is provided.
A description of the participants is followed by the procedures for the collection,
capturing and processing of data. The variables in this study are listed and
described, followed by a description of the procedures implemented for assuring
optimum reliability and validity in the measurements and consequently in the results
of this study.
83
CHAPTER 4: Results
4.1
Introduction
The aim of this chapter is to describe the results obtained in the empirical research. It
is necessary to understand the background of HIV, its pathophysiology and reported
mechanisms of auditory dysfunction as discussed extensively in the previous
chapters. This chapter presents the results of the research as a function of different
variables. These results will be comprehensively discussed in Chapter 5 to critically
review these findings with reference to the current body of literature. The lay-out of
the following sections presenting the results corresponds with the sub aims of this
study.
4.2
Sub-aim 1: The prevalence of auditory manifestations
Sub-aim 1: To determine the prevalence of auditory- and otological symptoms and
dysfunction in this group
In order to provide a clear understanding of the cross-sectional auditory and
otological profile of the HIV-positive sample, it was necessary to determine the
prevalence of various auditory and otological symptoms in this group. These
symptoms were enquired about during the interview and included otalgia, tinnitus and
vertigo. Pruritis was a self-reported symptom reported when asking about otalgia,
vertigo and tinnitus.
4.2.1 Symptoms of otalgia, pruritis, tinnitus & vertigo
Aspects of otalgia, tinnitus and vertigo were reported during the interview while
pruritis was not initially included but recorded when reported out of own accord. The
reported incidence of pruritis can therefore be considered as a minimum since it was
not directly asked. Figure 4.1 collectively illustrates the prevalence of auditory
symptoms in the sample population. In the case of otalgia and pruritis, participants
were required to report whether the symptom was present by either answering ‘Yes’
or ‘No’. Participants were asked to classify the frequency in which they experience
tinnitus and vertigo. A 5-point scale were used and responses included in this figure
84
are ‘Sometimes’, ‘Most of the time’, and ‘Always’. The categories ‘Rarely’ and ‘Never’
are included in ‘Patients without symptoms’ in the figure.
100%
Percentage (%)
80%
62%
81%
60%
58%
58%
26%
25%
40%
38%
20%
19%
0%
Otalgia
Pruritis
Tinnitus
Patients with symptoms present
Vertigo
Patients without symptoms
Figure 4.1: The prevalence of otological symptoms (n=200) Patients with
symptoms of vertigo and tinnitus indicated symptoms ‘sometimes’, ‘most of the time’
and ‘always’. Patients with symptoms of otalgia and pruritis indicated the presence of
the symptom through ‘yes or ‘no’.
Participants reporting tinnitus were asked to classify the frequency of occurrence.
Figure 4.2 displays the results of reported frequency of tinnitus occurrence. A total of
26% (n=52) of participants reported experiencing tinnitus to a certain extent, with the
majority (24.5%; n=49) experiencing tinnitus 'sometimes' and a small percentage
experiencing tinnitus 'most of the time' (1.5%; n=3).
58%
60
Percentage (%)
50
40
24.5%
30
16%
20
1.5%
0
Most of the
time
Always
10
0
Never
Rarely
Sometimes
Figure 4.2: Self reported tinnitus frequency (n=200)
85
The severity of tinnitus was also probed in the participants who experienced it.
Participants experiencing tinnitus ‘sometimes’, ‘most of the time’ and ‘always’ were
asked to rate the effect of tinnitus on their lives. Participants once again had a 5-point
scale to rate the severity of their tinnitus. A total of 15.5% (n=31) reported a minimal
effect, 16% (n=32) reported a minimal-mild effect, 6.5% (n=13) reported a mild effect
while 3.5% (n=7) and 0.5% (n=1) reported moderate and extreme effects,
respectively. The subjective experience of vertigo and its effect was also probed.
Figure 4.3 illustrates the frequency of these episodes.
Percentage (%)
60
58%
50
40
17%
30
23.5%
20
1.5%
0
Most of the
time
Always
10
0
Never
Rarely
Sometimes
Figure 4.3: Self-reported vertigo frequency (n=200)
A total of 25% of participants (n=50) reported episodes of vertigo. It should however
be noted that some participants reported that they experience this dizziness and
imbalance after they had taken their medication. Those participants who reported
experiencing vertigo ‘sometimes’, ‘most of the time’ or ‘always’, were
were asked to rate
the effect of vertigo episodes on their lives. These effects were rated on a 5-point
scale as follows: 16.5% (n=33) reported a minimal effect, 18% (n=36) reported a
minimal to mild effect, 7% (n=14) reported a moderate effect and 0.5% reported a
moderate or extreme effect on quality of life.
Figure 4.4 expresses the prevalence of vertigo, tinnitus, pruritis and otalgia as a
function of CDC category. Although an increase in prevalence of vertigo is seen
throughout the progression of CDC categories, this increase was not found to be
statistically significant (p>.05; Chi-Square). This pattern of increased prevalence with
disease severity was, however, not seen in the prevalence of tinnitus, pruritis and
otalgia. In the case of otalgia, the reverse is actually true, where a slightly larger
86
prevalence (21%) occurred in CDC Category 1 as opposed to CDC Categories 2
(19%) and 1 (18%). Although there were differences between the CDC categories,
no statistically significant differences (p>.05; Chi-Square) were found, throughout the
CDC categories, in the prevalence of tinnitus, otalgia, vertigo and pruritis.
29%
Vertigo
23%
18%
22%
Tinnitus
32%
18%
40%
Pruritis
32%
54%
18%
19%
21%
Otalgia
CDC category 3 (0-200cells/uL)
CDC category 2 (201-499cells/uL)
CDC Category 1 (>500cells/uL)
Figure 4.4: Otological symptoms findings across CDC categories (n=200) CDC
Category 1: CD4+ count larger than 500cells/uL. CDC Category 2: CD4+ count 200499cells/uL. CDC Category 3: CD4+ count of less than 200cells/uL
4.2.2 Otoscopic examinations
Otoscopic examination observations are illustrated in figure 4.4.
This figure
illustrates the otoscopic observations per ear. Figure 4.5 demonstrates the majority of
ears with normal otoscopy examination results (57%; n=227), and 33% with
abnormalities other than excessive wax.
1%2%2% 3%
7%
Normal
57%
18%
Excessive Wax
Red TM
Combination: Red TM and Other
Perforation
Foreign Object
Tympanosclerosis
10%
Other
Figure 4.5: Otoscopic examinations per ear (n=400)
'Other' includes retracted TM, active draining and inflamed ear canals)
87
Otoscopic abnormalities in some cases occurred in conjunction with other
abnormalities in the same ear. Table 4.1 indicates the occurrence of these
combination-pathologies and expresses these combinations separately.
Table 4.1:
Otoscopic results indicating combination pathologies (n=400)
COMBINATION PATHOLOGIES
Included
Excluded
Otoscopy result
Normal
Excessive wax
Retracted TM
Red TM
Perforation
Foreign object
Tympanosclerosis
Drainage
Inflamed ear canal
Tympanoplasty
Red TM, perforation, drainage
Red TM, inflamed ear canal
Red TM, Retracted TM
Red TM, excessive wax
Red TM, drainage
Red TM, tympanosclerosis
Red TM, perforation
Drainage, tympanosclerosis
Drainage, inflamed ear canal
Drainage, excessive wax
N-Value
Percentage
N-Value
227
39
1
74
2
7
9
1
1
1
57%
10%
0.25%
18%
1%
2%
2%
0.25%
0.25%
0.25%
227
42
13
102
6
7
15
15
5
1
COMBINATION-PATHOLOGIES
3
0.75%
2
0.5%
12
3%
4
1%
7
1.75%
1
0.25%
1
0.25%
2
0.5%
2
0.5%
3
0.75%
-
Although Figure 4.5 and Table 4.1 provide information regarding otoscopic
observations per ear, it was necessary to report laterality of pathology per participant
and not only per ear, but per subject. Figure 4.6 illustrates this distribution of normal
and abnormal otoscopic findings across subjects. A total of 55% (n=109) of subjects
presented with either a unilateral (23%; n=45) or a bilateral (32%; n=64) abnormality
as observed by otoscopy. Redness of the tympanic membrane was observed in
35.5% (n=71) of participants (Unilateral: 20% (n=40); bilateral: 15.5% (n=31), while
otorrhea alone, or in the presence of a perforation occurred in 8% (n=16) of
participants either unilaterally or bilaterally.
88
0.6
Percentage (%)
0.5
32%
n=64
0.4
Normal
Bilateral
45.5%
n=91
0.3
Unilateral
0.2
23%
n=45
0.1
0
Normal bilateral
Abnormal
Figure 4.6: Otoscopic findings (n=200)
Figure 4.7 demonstrates otoscopic abnormalities throughout the spectrum of CDC
categories and also indicates whether a bilateral or unilateral pathology was
recorded. A larger prevalence of pathology was observed in CDC Category 2 as
opposed to CDC Category 1. A smaller prevalence
prevalence was seen in CDC Category 3. No
statistical significance (p>.05; Chi-Square) was however found in the abnormalities
within each CDC category.
29%
CDC category 1
CDC category 2
22%
CDC category 3
22%
0%
10%
29%
38%
26%
20%
30%
Unilateral
40%
50%
60%
70%
Bilateral
Figure 4.7: Otoscopic abnormalities across CDC categories (n=200). CDC
Category 1: Participants with a CD4+ count larger than
than 500cells/uL; CDC Category 2:
Participants with a CD4+ count from 200-499cells/uL; and CDC Category 3:
Participants with a CD4+ count less than 200cells/uL
89
4.2.3 Tympanometry
Figure 4.8 depicts the distribution of tympanograms obtained per ear. A total of 36%
of ears presented with abnormalities. The majority of the group with abnormalities
presented with type B tympanograms.
70%
64%
n=256
Percentage (%)
60%
50%
24%
n=96
40%
30%
6%
n=24
6%
n=24
20%
10%
0%
Type A
Type Ad
Type B
Type C
Figure 4.8: Tympanometry results per ear (n=400)
Figure 4.9 presents tympanometric results per subject (n=200) and indicates laterality
of the pathology. A total of 41% of participants presented with abnormal
abnormal middle ear
functioning (unilateral: 23% (n=46); bilateral: 18% (n=36)), with the majority (33%) of
participants presenting with type B tympanograms (unilateral:
(unilateral: 20%; n=40; bilateral:
13%; n=27).
60%
Percentage (%)
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
18%
n=36
59%
n=118
Bilateral
Unilateral
Normal
23%
n=46
0%
Abnormal
Normal bilateral
Figure 4.9: Tympanometric results (n=200)
90
Figure 4.10 displays unilateral and bilateral abnormal tympanometric findings as a
function of CDC category. A larger portion of participants presenting with abnormal
tympanometric results was found in CDC Category 1, as opposed to both categories
2 and 3. These differences were however found to not be statistically significant
(p>.05; Chi-Square).
21%
24%
CDC category 3
21%
21%
CDC category 2
32%
CDC Category 1
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
Unilateral
Bilateral
32%
50%
60%
70%
Figure 4.10: Abnormal Tympanometric results across CDC categories (n=200).
CDC Category 1: Participants with a CD4+ count larger than 500cells/uL; CDC
Category 2: Participants with a CD4+ count from 200-499cells/uL; and CDC Category
3: Participants with a CD4+ count less than 200cells/uL.
200cells/uL. Abnormal tympanograms
included: Type B, type C and type Ad tympanograms.
4.2.4 Pure tone audiometry
Pure tone audiometry was conducted
conducted on all patients to determine thresholds at 0.5,
1, 2, 3, and 4 kHz. It is important to note that the audiological thresholds used in this
section had been corrected according to baseline, biological calibration levels. This
was necessary because pure
pure tone audiometry was not conducted in a sound proof
environment. The pure tone average (average of 0.5, 1 and 2 kHz) was mainly used
as a measure of hearing loss, although a low frequency average (LFA: average of
0.5 and 1 kHz) as well as a high frequency average (HFA: average of 2, 3 and 4 kHz)
were also calculated for comparative purposes.
91
14%
Percentage (%)
12%
12.5%
n=25
10%
8%
8%
n=16
6%
7.5%
n=15
8.5%
n=17
12.5%
n=25
8.5%
n=17
LEFT
RIGHT
4%
2%
0%
LFA >25dB
PTA >25dB
HFA >25dB
Figure 4.11: Prevalence of hearing loss in left and right ears (n=200) Low
frequency average (LFA) = 0.5 and 1 kHz average. Pure tone Average (PTA) = 0.5, 1
and 2 kHz average. High frequency average (HFA) = 2, 3 and 4 kHz average.
Figure 4.12 provide comparisons between the PTA, LFA and HFA with respect to
unilateral and bilateral hearing loss within each of these classifications. The overall
prevalence of averages more than 25dB was 11%, 14% and 17% in the LFA, PTA
and HFA respectively. The higher prevalence of hearing loss, when considering the
HFA, is indicative of a greater occurrence of hearing loss in the high frequency
region.
Percentage (%)
20%
15%
10%
6%
n=11
5%
5%
n=9
6%
n=12
8%
n=16
9%
n=17
8%
n=16
0%
LFA
PTA
UNILATERAL HL >25dB
HFA
BILATERAL HL >25dB
Figure 4.12: Unilateral and bilateral hearing losses greater than 25dB Low
frequency average (LFA): Average of 0.5 and 1 kHz; Pure tone average (PTA):
Average of 0.5, 1 and 2 kHz; High frequency average (HFA): Average of 2, 3 and 4
kHz
92
Figure 4.13 displays the distribution of the LFA, PTA and HFA for each subject.
Considering the distribution of these values, it is clear that the distribution of
averages are concentrated between 0 and 15dB, which accounts for those
participants who presented with normal hearing in all categories.
Participants
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
0
10
20
30
Intensity (dB)
40
50
LFA
PTA
60
HFA
70
80
90
100
110
120
Figure 4.13: Distribution of pure tone averages, low frequency averages and
high frequency averages (n=400) Low frequency average (LFA): Average of 0.5
and 1 kHz; Pure tone average (PTA): Average of 0.5, 1 and 2 kHz; High frequency
average (HFA): Average of 2, 3 and 4 kHz
93
Figure 4.14 expresses the occurrence of hearing loss (PTA>25dB) across CDC
categories. It clearly illustrates the increase in the occurrence of hearing loss through
the progression of CDC categories. This increase throughout the CDC stages was
however not statistically significant (p>.05; Chi-Square). It also indicates the laterality
of hearing loss in each CDC category. A definite increase in unilateral hearing loss is
seen with the progression of the disease, this was however statistically not
significant.
8%
4%
CDC Category 3
5%
7%
CDC Category 2
8%
10%
CDC Category 1
0%
5%
10%
Unilateral
15%
20%
Bilateral
Figure 4.14: Hearing loss (PTA>25dB)
(PTA>25dB) across CDC categories (n=200) CDC
Category 1: Participants with a CD4+ count larger than
than 500cells/uL; CDC Category 2:
Participants with a CD4+ count from 200-499cells/uL; and CDC Category 3:
Participants with a CD4+ count of less than 200cells/uL
Figure 4.15 displays the prevalence of hearing loss greater than 15dB and 25dB in
respectively the right and left ears of participants as well as self reported hearing loss
throughout the CDC categories. A definite increase in hearing loss as well as
subjective hearing loss is seen throughout the progression of CDC categories. This
increase is evident in all categories of hearing loss as well as in both the left and right
ear data. These increases in hearing loss prevalence for all categories of hearing
loss (RPTA>15; LPTA>15; RPTA>25; LPTA>25) are however not statistically
significant (p>.05; Chi-Square). Interestingly, the prevalence of subjective hearing
loss in each category is much larger than hearing loss expressed
expressed as PTA>25dB and
are in fact quite similar to that of the prevalence of hearing loss expressed as
94
PTA>15dB. No statistical significant differences were seen between the RPTA>15dB,
LPTA>15dB and self reported hearing loss throughout CDC categories (p>.05; Ttest), while a significant difference were found between the prevalence of
RPTA>25dB, LPTA>25dB and subjective hearing loss throughout CDC categories
(p<.05; T-Test). This implies that the group of participants with slight hearing losses
should not be discarded but may valuably add to interpretations of the data.
42%
Hearing loss (Right PTA>15dB)
30%
25%
33%
Hearing loss (Left PTA>15dB)
23%
21%
12%
Hearing loss (Right PTA>25dB)
7%
4%
12%
Hearing loss (Left PTA>25dB)
7%
4%
CDC category 3
CDC category 2
CDC Category 1
Figure 4.15: Hearing loss across CDC categories (n=200) PTA: Average of 0.5, 1
and 2 kHz
4.2.5 Otoacoustic emissions
Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) were considered to be normal when the distortion
product (noise floor difference/DFNF difference) was equal or larger than 10dB.
Emissions between 6dB and 10dB were classified as present but reduced and those
smaller than 6dB were considered to be absent. The protocol used in this study
assessed five frequencies and the total OAE measurement per ear was considered
abnormal when three of the five frequencies were either abnormal or reduced. A
95
normal OAE was identified when three or more frequencies were found to be normal.
Figure 4.16 displays normal and abnormal OAE results in the left and right ears.
100%
Percentage (%)
37%
41%
80%
Abnormal
60%
Normal
64%
40%
59%
20%
0%
RIGHT
LEFT
Figure 4.16: OAE findings in left ears (n=200) OAE findings were classified as
‘abnormal’ when three of five test frequencies were either reduced (DP-NF= 6dB –
10dB) or absent (DP-NF<6dB)
The prevalence of abnormalities is similar in both ears. Figure 4.17 and Figure 4.18
indicate these OAE findings as a function of CDC category for the left and right ears
respectively. A total of 44% (n=88) participants presented with either unilateral or
bilateral abnormal OAE findings. Both Figure 4.17 and Figure 4.18 indicate a
progression in abnormal OAE findings throughout the CDC categories. This increase
in abnormal findings is statistically not significant (p>.05; Chi-Square).
CDC category 3
62%
38%
CDC category 2
64%
36%
Normal
Abnormal
68%
CDC Category 1
0%
20%
40%
32%
60%
80%
100%
Figure 4.17: OAE findings in left ears
ears across CDC categories (n=200) OAE
findings were classified as ‘abnormal’ when three of five test frequencies were either
reduced (DP-NF= 6dB – 10dB) or absent (DP-NF<6dB)
96
55%
CDC category 3
45%
59%
CDC category 2
Normal
41%
Abnormal
71%
CDC Category 1
0%
20%
40%
29%
60%
80%
100%
Figure 4.18: OAE findings in right ears across CDC categories (n=200). OAE
findings were classified as ‘abnormal’ when three of five test frequencies were either
reduced (DP-NF= 6dB – 10dB) or absent (DP-NF<6dB).
Figure 4.19 and Figure 4.20 respectively compare OAE abnormalities to the
prevalence of hearing loss when defined as the PTA>15dB and PTA>25dB. This
comparison is made as a function of CDC category. Interestingly, the prevalence of
abnormal OAE findings in each category is much larger compared to hearing loss
expressed as PTA>25dB. At the same time the prevalence of OAE abnormalities are
in fact quite similar to that of the prevalence of hearing loss expressed as PTA>15dB.
No statistical significant differences were seen between the PTA>15dB and OAE
abnormalities throughout CDC categories (p>.05; T-test), while a significant
difference were found between the prevalence of PTA>25dB and abnormal OAE
findings throughout CDC categories (p<.05; T-Test).
The larger prevalence of OAE abnormalities as opposed to hearing loss might be
attributed to early hair cell damage or sub clinical findings, not yet manifesting in
hearing thresholds. This closer relationship between OAE abnormalities and hearing
loss greater than 15dB also confirms the previous speculated
speculated regarding the
prevalence of subjective hearing loss being closer PTA>15dB than to PTA>25dB.
97
38%
40%
36%
33%
35%
32%
Percentage (%)
30%
23%
25%
21%
CDC Category 1
20%
CDC Category 2
CDC Category 3
12%
15%
7%
10%
4%
5%
0%
PTA>25
PTA>15
OAE
Figure 4.19: Hearing loss (PTA>15dB; PTA>25dB) and OAE findings in left
ears across CDC categories (n=200) OAE findings were classified as ‘abnormal’
when three of five test frequencies were either reduced (DP-NF= 6dB – 10dB) or
absent (DP-NF<6dB)
45%
42%
45%
41%
40%
Percentage (%)
35%
30%
30%
29%
25%
CDC Category 1
25%
CDC Category 2
20%
CDC Category 3
12%
15%
7%
10%
4%
5%
0%
PTA>25
PTA>15
OAE
Figure 4.20: Hearing loss (PTA>15dB; PTA>25dB) and OAE findings in right
ears across CDC categories (n=200) OAE findings were classified as ‘abnormal’
when three of five test frequencies were either reduced (DP-NF= 6dB – 10dB) or
absent (DP-NF<6dB)
98
4.2 Sub-aim 2: Characteristics of hearing loss
Sub aim 2: To describe characteristics of hearing loss within the subset of
participants with hearing loss according to the type, laterality, degree and onset of
hearing loss as a function of CD4+ count
This section describes the characteristics of hearing loss in terms of the type, degree,
configuration and onset of hearing loss encountered in this group.
4.3.1 Types and laterality of hearing loss in this sample
For the purposes of this research, sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is classified as
an elevated pure tone average (>15dB) in conjunction with type A, Ad, As and type C
tympanograms. Conductive hearing loss (CHL) is defined as any elevated pure tone
average (>15dB) in conjunction with a type B tympanogram. Mixed hearing loss was
not considered in this study since no method of accurately differentiating a mixed
hearing loss, i.e. bone conduction audiometry, was conducted. This classification
was used because diagnostic audiometry with bone conduction audiometry could not
be conducted. Elevated thresholds larger than 15dB instead of thresholds larger than
25dB were used. The reason for this is twofold: Firstly because no significant
difference was seen between the between the number of subjective reports of
hearing loss and hearing loss defined as PTA>15dB, while in fact a significant
difference was found between the prevalence of hearing loss (PTA>25dB), self
reported hearing loss and OAE abnormalities. Martin & Champlin (2000) also
suggested that using a limit of a PTA<25dB HL for normal hearing might be
inappropriate. The reasoning includes that in some cases, individuals experience a
subjective decrease in hearing with a PTA<25dB (Martin & Champlin, 2000).
Figure 4.21 displays the higher occurence of sensorineural hearing loss, both
unilaterally and bilaterally as opposed to conductive hearing loss.
99
25%
20%
Percentage (%)
8%
6%
15%
CHL
10%
SNHL
14%
13.5%
Unilateral
Bilateral
5%
0%
Figure 4.21: Type and laterality of hearing loss (PTA>15dB) PTA: Average of 0.5
kHz, 1 kHz & 2 kHz; SNHL: Sensorineural hearing loss (Elevated PTA greater than
15dB in the presence of type A, As, Ad and C tympanograms). CHL: Conductive
hearing loss (Elevated PTA greater than 15dB in the presence of type B
tympanogram
Figure 4.22 displays the type and laterality of hearing loss across each CDC category
and clearly indicates a higher prevalence of SNHL as opposed to CHL. CDC
Category 1 presents with a total of 18% of unilateral losses, 15% bilateral losses,
18% SNHL and 15% CHL while CDC Category 2 presents with 17% unilateral
losses, 15% bilateral losses, 23% SNHL and 9% CHL. CDC Category 3 was found to
have 17% unilateral losses, 27% bilateral losses, 31% SNHL and 13% CHL. A large
prevalence of bilateral SNHL is seen in Category 3 as opposed to bilateral SNHL in
CDC Category 1 and 2.
This increase in the prevalence of SNHL throughout CDC categories was found to be
statistically significant (p<.05; Chi-Square). No statistically significant relationship was
found for the prevalence of CHL throughout CDC categories (p>.05; Chi-Square).
100
50%
45%
40%
35%
19%
30%
25%
10%
11%
20%
12%
7%
13%
15%
4%
10%
5%
8%
5%
11%
4%
5%
CDC category 2
(n=94)
CDC category 3
(n=28)
0%
CDC category 1
(n=78)
CHL Unilateral
CHL Bilateral
SNHL Unilateral
SNHL Bilateral
Figure 4.22: Type of hearing loss across CDC categories (n=200) Conductive
hearing loss: Any pure tone average greater than 15dB in conjunction with type B
tympanogram; sensorineural hearing loss: Any pure tone average greater than 15dB
in conjunction with type A, As, Ad and type C tympanograms
4.3.2 Degree of hearing loss in the sample
Figure 4.23 shows the degree of hearing loss throughout the sample. A large
prevalence of slight hearing loss is demonstrated, with a total of 8.5% mild to
profound losses in both the left and right ears.
101
30%
25.5%
25%
20%
18.5%
15%
10%
7%
6%
5%
0.5%
1.5%
0.5%
1%
0.5%
0%
0%
S
M
Mod
LPTA
Mod-Sev
Prof
RPTA
Figure 4.23: Degree of hearing loss per ear (Left ears: n=54; Right ears:
n=68) Hearing loss includes all participants with CHL and SNHL. Slight hearing loss
(S): PTA=16dB-25dB; Mild hearing loss (M): PTA=26dB-40dB; Moderate hearing
loss (Mod): 41dB-55dB; Moderately severe hearing loss (Mod-Sev): PTA=56-70dB;
Severe hearing loss (Sev): PTA=71dB-90dB; Profound hearing loss (Prof):
PTA=91dB and higher, Clark, 1981
4.3.3 Onset of hearing loss
The participants were asked to classify the severity of their perceived hearing
difficulty on a 5-point scale. A total of 27.5% of participants (n=55) reported
experiencing difficulty in hearing ranging from 'rarely' through to 'always'.
Furthermore, this group (n=55) was asked to classify the onset of their hearing
difficulty as either 'sudden', 'slow' or 'progressive'. Of this group 82% (n=45) reported
a slow and progressive onset of hearing loss, whilst the remaining 18% (n=10)
reported a sudden onset of hearing loss.
102
72.5%
80
Percentage (%)
70
60
50
40
21%
30
20
0.5%
10
3.5%
2.5%
0
Never
Figure 4.24:
Sometimes
Rarely
Most of the
time
Always
Self-reported hearing difficulty (n=200)
Figure 4.25 and 4.26 displays the average audiograms for participants which
reported to experience hearing difficulty as opposed those who did not. It clearly
illustrates a significant difference (p<.05; T-Test) at each frequency and pure tone
averages between these two groups.
500Hz
1000Hz
2000Hz
7
7.9
3000Hz
4000Hz
PTA
0
5
10.6
11.1
10
Intensity (dB)
8.5
12.1
15
20
25
30
19.2
19.5
21.6
26
35
34.2
40
36.4
45
No SRHL
Some SRHL
Figure 4.25: Average audiograms for participants with no self reported
hearing loss and some self reported
reported hearing loss in the left ears Error bars are
indicated; SRHL: Self reported hearing loss;
loss; PTA: Pure tone average (average of 0.5
kHz, 1 kHz and 2 kHz)
103
500Hz
1000Hz
9.8
8.8
2000Hz
3000Hz
4000Hz
PTA
0
5
11.6
Intensity (dB)
10
10
13.2
14
15
20
25
20
20.4
21.6
24.5
30
35
32.1
33.7
40
No SRHL
Some SRHL
Figure 4.26: Average audiograms for participants with no self reported hearing
loss and some self reported hearing loss in the right ears. Error bars are
indicated; SRHL: Self reported hearing loss; PTA: Pure tone average (average of 0.5
kHz, 1 kHz and 2 kHz)
A statistically significant difference was found between the average audiograms of
participants with self reported hearing loss and the audiograms of those who did not
report subjective hearing loss. This difference was found at each frequency as well
as the pure tone averages in both ears. The effect of each was measured and are
set out in table 4.2.
Table 4.2: Effect size across frequency range in comparing thresholds of
participants with self reported hearing loss and without Average audiograms for
individuals who respectively reported subjective hearing loss and those who did not.
PTA: Pure tone average; 0.1: Small effect; 0.3: Medium effect; 0.5: Large effect
Left
Right
0.1
0.1
500 Hz
0
0
1000 Hz
0.1
0.1
2000 Hz
0.2
0.1
3000 Hz
0.3
0.2
4000 Hz
0.3
0.2
PTA
104
Figure 4.27 and 4.28 visually displays the average audiograms for the group of
individuals with and without hearing loss in respectively the left and right ears.
500Hz
1000Hz
2000Hz
3000Hz
4000Hz
0
5.4
5
10
7.3
8.2
12.3
13.7
15
PTA>15dB
20
PTA<15dB
25
26.2
25.1
30
25.2
27.1
27.4
35
40
45
Figure 4.27: Average audiograms of individuals with and without hearing
loss in left ears PTA: Average of 0.5 kHz, 1 kHz & 2 kHz; Standard deviation bars
indicated
500Hz
1000Hz
2000Hz
3000Hz
4000Hz
0
5
5.9
8.5
6.7
12.2
10
13.6
15
PTA>15dB
PTA<15dB
20
25
24.6
23.3
24.9
26.2
25.4
30
35
40
Figure 4.28: Average audiograms of individuals with and without hearing loss
in right ears PTA: Average of 0.5 kHz, 1 kHz & 2 kHz; Standard Deviation bars
indicated.
105
4.3.4 Characteristics of hearing loss as a function of CD4+ count
Furthermore, it was necessary to look at the type of hearing loss in each CDC
category. The types of hearing loss are as follows: Unilateral sensorineural hearing
loss, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, unilateral conductive hearing loss and
bilateral conductive hearing loss. In Figure 4.18 and 4.19 (4.2.5), the progressive
prevalence of hearing loss with the progression of the disease was clearly visible. In
the most advanced stage of the disease, it is also clear that a high incidence of
bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (19%) occurred as opposed to respectively 10%
and 11% in the other categories.
Figure 4.29 demonstrates the degrees of hearing loss in each CDC category, right
and left ears expressed separately. A higher percentage of slight and mild losses
occurred in Category 3 when compared to Categories 2 and 1 respectively. This
figure also indicates an increase in the occurrence of mild hearing loss in Category 2
and an even larger prevalence in Category 3. The increase in mild hearing loss with
the progression of CDC categories might be indicative of possible progressive
CDC Category CDC Category CDC Category
1
2
3
hearing loss in the course of the disease.
Right
31%
Left
22%
Right
22%
Left
5%
5%
Slight HL
5%
Mild HL
10%
35%
40%
2%
4%
18%
0%
1%
1% 1%
21%
Left
1%
12%
16%
Right
9%
4%
15%
Moderate HL
20%
25%
30%
Moderately-Severe HL
45%
Profound HL
Figure 4.29: Degree of hearing loss across CDC categories Degree of hearing
loss determined by pure tone average (PTA), therefore the average of 0.5, 1 and 2
kHz: Slight: 16dB-25dB; Mild: 26dB-40dB; Moderate: 41dB-55dB; Moderately severe:
56dB-70dB; Severe: 70dB-90dB; Profound: >90dB
106
4.4 Sub-aim 3: Comparing a HIV group and a matched control group
Sub-aim 3: To compare the prevalence and degree of hearing loss as well as the
average thresholds of the HIV group to a control group matched according to age,
gender and working environment
A matched control group was compiled in order to be able to compare the hearing
profiles of HIV positive and HIV negative individuals. The process of compiling the
control group is extensively discussed in Chapter 3. This section presents the results
obtained by comparing the pure tone thresholds of the HIV and control groups. The
prevalence of hearing loss, the degree of hearing loss as well as the average
thresholds for each group was compared. In cases where a difference was found,
statistical calculations were performed in order to determine the statistical
significance of the difference between the aspects in question. Interactions between
variables were also investigated and are also reported in this section. The following
section provides comparative prevalence data for the HIV and control group.
4.4.1 Prevalence of hearing loss
The prevalence of mild and more severe hearing losses (PTA>25dB) as well as slight
and more severe hearing loss (PTA>15dB) was calculated and Figure 4.30 visually
represents the comparison between the HIV and control group for the left and right
ears respectively. It is important to once again note that the thresholds for HIV
infected participants used in this comparison had not been corrected through
baseline biological calibration. This is also the case with the control group. This data
is therefore not used for prevalence data in this study, but only for comparative
purposes.
Figure 4.30 visually represents the prevalence of hearing loss (expressed as
PTA>25dB as well as PTA>15dB) in the HIV and control groups. A statistical
significant difference (p<.05; T-Test) is seen when comparing these two groups, with
the HIV group displaying a much larger prevalence of hearing loss as opposed to the
107
control group, throughout the different categories of classifying hearing loss and for
both the left and right ears.
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
74.5%
n=149
70.5%
n=141
34.5%
n=69
37.5%
n=75
5.5%
n=11
34%
n=68
3%
n=6
36.5%
n=78
0%
Left PTA>25dB
Left PTA>15dB
HIV group
Right PTA>25dB
Control group
Right PTA>15dB
Figure 4.30: Prevalence of hearing loss in the HIV and control group (n=184)
Hearing loss expressed as respectively the PTA >15dB and PTA>15dB; PTA: Pure
tone average – average of thresholds at 0.5, 1 and 2 kHz; no biological baseline
calibration was taken into account in either of the groups
4.4.2 Degree of hearing loss
The pure tone thresholds of the HIV and control group as well as the prevalence of
different degrees of hearing loss were compared.
It should be noted that
percentages of prevalence of degree of hearing loss are expressed as a part of the
total group of participants with hearing loss and not as part of the entire sample.
Figure 4.31 and Figure 4.32 compare the prevalence of different degrees of hearing
loss in these two groups and clearly indicate a larger prevalence of each degree of
hearing loss in the HIV group as opposed to the control group. This difference is
especially noticeable in the ‘mild’ hearing losses where the difference was large
(26%). A smaller difference was seen in ‘slight’ hearing losses (5%), moderate losses
(5.5%) as well as in ‘moderately-severe’ (0.5%) and ‘severe’ (1%) hearing losses.
108
50%
45%
44%
n=81
Percentage (%)
40%
39%
n=72
35%
29%
n=54
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
6%
n=11
3%
n=5
5%
0.5%
n=1
0.5%
n=1
0%
1%
n=2
0%
0%
Slight
Mild
Moderate
Test
Mod-sev
Severe
Control
Figure 4.31: Degree of hearing loss in the right ears of the HIV and control
group Degree of hearing loss determined by pure tone average (PTA): Average of
0.5, 1 and 2 kHz. Slight: 16dB-25dB; Mild: 26dB-40dB; Moderate: 41dB-55dB;
Moderately severe: 56dB-70dB; Severe: 70dB-90dB
45%
40%
39%
n=72
35%
n=64
Percentage (%)
35%
32%
n=59
30%
25%
20%
15%
5%
n=9
10%
3%
n=6
5%
0.5%
n=1
2%
n=3
0.5%
n=1
0.5%
n=1
0%
0%
Slight
Mild
Moderate
Test
Mod-sev
Severe
Control
Figure 4.32: Degree of hearing loss in the left ears of the HIV and control
group Degree of hearing loss determined by pure tone average (PTA): Average of
0.5, 1 and 2 kHz. Slight: 16dB-25dB; Mild: 26dB-40dB; Moderate: 41dB-55dB;
Moderately severe: 56dB-70dB; Severe: 70dB-90dB
109
4.4.3 Average thresholds
Figure 4.33 and Figure 4.34 presents the mean pure tone values for 184 subjects
across the frequency spectrum in the left and right ears respectively. Standard error
bars are indicated in the figures. Both figure 4.33 and figure 4.34 clearly indicates
that the HIV group’s mean of frequencies is significantly larger than that of the control
group throughout the frequency spectrum. The Student’s t-test was conducted and
confirmed a statistically significant difference between the HIV and control group
throughout the frequency spectrum as well as in the pure tone averages of both the
left and the right ears.
500 Hz
1000 Hz
2000 Hz
13.4
13
13.8
3000Hz
4000Hz
PTA
0
5
Intensity (dB
10
14.4
16.7
13.5
15
20
25
21.9
24.8
24.5
30
27.2
27.9
27.9
35
L Test Group
L Control Group
thresholds in the left ears
Figure 4.33: Mean control and HIV group pure tone thresholds
(n=184) Error bars indicated.
110
500 Hz
1000 Hz
2000 Hz
13.0
12.8
3000Hz
4000Hz
PTA
0
5
Intensity (dB)
10
13.8
14.5
13.4
16.2
15
20
20.4
25
22.0
26.0
30
35
24.8
27.3
32.0
R Test Group
R Control Group
Figure 4.34: Mean control and HIV group pure tone thresholds in the right
ears (n=184) Error bars indicated.
Statistical calculations were conducted in order to determine the effect size of each
frequency as well as the PTA in both the left and right ears. Table 4.2 indicates the
effect size obtained by Semipartial Omega-Square calculations. At 0.5kHz in
respectively the left and right ears an effect size of .40 and .30 were found –
indicating a medium to large- and a medium effect size respectively. A small and
small to medium effect size was found at 1 kHz in respectively
respectively the right and left ears
(.10; .20), while a small to medium effect was seen at 2 kHz and 3 kHz (.20) and a
small effect at 4 kHz (.10). The effect size found in the comparison of the PTA was
respectively 0.2 and 0.3, indicating a small to medium and
and medium effect
respectively.
111
Table 4.3:
Effect size across frequency range in comparing HIV and control
groups Average audiograms of HIV and control groups compared PTA: Pure tone average;
0.1: Small effect; 0.3: Medium effect; 0.5: Large effect
Right
Left
PTA
0.2
0.3
500 Hz
0.4
0.2
1000 Hz
0.1
0.2
2000 Hz
0.2
0.2
3000 Hz
0.2
0.2
4000Hz
0.1
0.1
The configuration of the average audiograms in the HIV and control groups differed
substantially. In the HIV group average audiogram a clear ‘reverse-slope’ was
prominent for the low frequencies, while a prominent high frequency slope was also
seen. This configuration is evident in both the left and right ears. In both the left and
right ears of the control group, a relatively flat with a slight sloping average
configuration towards the high frequencies was seen.
In addition to the Student’s T-test which tested for statistical significance, further
analysis was conducted to determine the influence of age and gender as well as the
interactions between these variables at each frequency.
4.4.4 Interactions
Statistical calculations were performed in order to establish whether any interactions
between variables could be seen. The following variables were investigated: Age
(Three age groups were used: 17 – 34 years, 35 – 54 years and >=55 years), and
gender (male and female) as well as the group (HIV or control group). The Student’s
T-test was again used to determine probability values for each of these interactions.
These p-values are indicated in Table 4.4. Table 4.4 presents the probability values
obtained when considering interactions between the age, gender and group.
Probability values were considered to be statistically significant when the value was
smaller than .05.
112
This table shows that the majority of males and females in the age groups 17-34
years and 35-54 years demonstrated a significant difference between pure tone
thresholds in the HIV and control group. Interestingly, very few statistically significant
probability values (indicated in red in Table 4.4) were obtained in male and female
participants in the age group older than 55 years. This might firstly be attributable to
a small sample size in this age group (5 participants older than 55 years in the HIV
and control group); secondly, it is well known that presbyacusis plays a significant
role in the deterioration of hearing. This factor may have contributed to the fact that
with age, no statistical significant differences are seen between the HIV and control
group.
Table 4.4:
Probability values for interactions between gender, age and HIV
status Statistically significant values (p<0.05; T-test) are indicated in black, while non
LEFT EARS
RIGHT EARS
statistically significant values (p>0.05; T-test) are indicated in red.
4.5
Male
Female
Male
Female
Male
Female
17-34yrs
17-34yrs
35-54yrs
35-54yrs
>=55yrs
>=55yrs
500Hz
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.4522
0.3854
1000Hz
0.0042
<0.0001
0.0012
<0.0001
0.0162
0.0797
2000Hz
0.0504
<0.0001
0.0122
<0.0001
0.4794
0.0229
3000Hz
0.0429
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.6949
0.0908
4000Hz
0.0317
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.0533
0.6984
500Hz
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.2356
0.4289
1000Hz
0.0074
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.003
0.3934
2000Hz
0.0054
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.0175
0.0614
3000Hz
0.0013
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.0243
0.0593
4000Hz
0.0272
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.1225
0.372
Conclusion
This chapter provides an overview of the results obtained in this study. It has shown
the prevalence of various auditory and otological symptoms in this study to be as
follows: Otalgia: 19%; Pruritis: 38%; Tinnitus: 26%; Vertigo: 25%; Otoscopy: 55%;
Tympanometry: 41%. Depending on the criteria used to define hearing loss, the
prevalence differed. When looking at pure tone averages greater than 25dB only, a
prevalence of 14% hearing loss was found. When considering pure tone averages
larger than 15dB, a prevalence of 39% of hearing loss was found. Oto-acoustic
113
emission results indicated a total of 44% of participants with abnormal OAE findings.
The majority of participants with hearing loss reported a slow onset of hearing loss.
Although not statistically significant, increases in hearing loss prevalence were noted
with the progression of the disease. A statistically significant increase was found in
the occurrence of SNHL throughout disease progression. Statistically significant
larger hearing thresholds throughout the frequency spectrum were found in the HIV
group as opposed to the control group. It also appears that in the age group of 55
years and older, no significant differences were seen in hearing thresholds of the HIV
and control group.
114
CHAPTER 5: Discussion
5.1
Introduction
The aim of this chapter is to discuss the results obtained in this study and to explain
the importance, meaning, significance and implication of the findings. This will be
done in accordance with existing literature in this field of study, by critically
comparing research methodologies and findings and attempting to draw conclusions
regarding the prevalence and nature of hearing loss and other otological findings in
individuals with HIV/AIDS.
The aim of this study was to describe the auditory functioning of a group of adults
infected with HIV and subsequently to compare the auditory thresholds of this group
to that of a matched control group. The research design was firstly descriptive and
secondly comparative in nature. For purposes of the descriptive section, a total of
200 HIV positive participants were assessed with an audiological test battery which
included otoscopy, tympanometry, pure tone audiometry, oto-acoustic emissions and
an interview. For the purposes of the comparative section, 184 individuals from the
initial HIV group of 200 were matched with a HIV negative control group in terms of
age, gender and work environment. The HIV and control groups were compared in
order to determine differences in prevalence and characteristics of hearing loss
between these groups.
5.2
Discussion of research findings
Research findings presented in Chapter 4 are discussed while highlighting interesting
and illuminating findings by positioning these findings within the current literature.
These results are also interpreted according to literature to explicate their meaning
and to possibly confirm findings in the associated literature.
5.2.1 Auditory and otological symptoms
The prevalence of tinnitus, vertigo, otalgia and pruritis was investigated. In the
sections to follow, the prevalence of these aspects are discussed against the
backdrop of various other research findings in literature. The prevalence of these
115
conditions are also discussed within the different stages of HIV infection, in order to
demonstrate the occurence of symptoms with progression of the disease.
Tinnitus
A total of 42% of participants reported experiencing subjective tinnitus rarely,
sometimes or most of the time. When those who reported that they experience
tinnitus ‘rarely’ (16%) are excluded, a prevalence of 26% was found. This
corresponds with reported tinnitus prevalence of 23% by Khoza & Ross, (2002) and
26% by Chandrasekhar et al. (2000) in patients with HIV. Although minor differences
are evident in these studies in terms of number of subjects, CDC category
distribution etc., the prevalence of self-reported tinnitus approximates one in every
four persons infected with HIV (23 to 26%). Tinnitus in HIV individuals might be
caused by an array of conductive and sensorineural pathologies amongst other
causative factors. The most common causes of tinnitus are, firstly, conductive
hearing loss due to: cerumen impactation, swelling of the outer ear canal, otitis
media, tympanic membrane perforation, middle ear fluid as well as otosclerosis
(Crummer & Hassan, 2004); secondly, sensorineural hearing loss due to abnormality
in the inner ear or the cochlear part of the eighth cranial nerve such as noise induced
hearing loss as well as presbycusis (Crummer & Hassan, 2004). These causative
factors commonly occur in HIV/AIDS individuals (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010;
Chandrasekhar et al (2000); Khoza-Shangase (2010).
The prevalence of tinnitus in each CDC category in the current study sample was
investigated but no clear pattern of increased prevalence was noted with progression
of the disease. Descriptively however, 18% of participants in Category 1 presented
with tinnitus, compared to higher percentages in both Category 2 (32%) and
Category 3 (22%). This suggests some increase in prevalence with disease
progression, although not statistically significant (p>0.05; Chi-Square). The possibility
should however be considered that participants in CDC Category 3 receive ART and
could possibly lead to a decrease in occurrence of tinnitus in this category.
116
Vertigo
A total of 42% of participants reported experiencing vertigo, but when omitting the
17% who reported that they ‘rarely’ experience vertigo, the prevalence comes to
25%. Chandrasekhar et al (2000) reported a prevalence of 32% cases of selfreported ‘dizzyness’ in their sample of 40 HIV positive adults. Marra et al (1997)
indicated the prevalence of self-reported vertigo to be 30% in their study of 99 HIV
infected adults. Although these studies correspond closely, slight variation does exist
amongst these studies. This might be attributed to the possibility that vertigo was not
defined in exactly the same manner in these studies and no clear distinction between
dizzyness and vertigo were made. It does seem clear however, that between one in
every four to one in every three adult patients with HIV report symptoms of vertigo.
Difference in diagnosis criteria (Hofmeyr & Baker, 2010) could contribute to slight
variance and cause vertigo to possibly be underestimated and underreported.
Symptoms of vertigo are often disguised by a multitude of symptoms in terminally ill
HIV/AIDS patients (Lalwani & Sooy, 1992). It often happens that medication is
administered in different dosages and combinations, and these drugs could
potentially lead to dizzyness which can be confused with vertigo (Teggi et al, 2008).
A study by Teggi et al., (2008) studied the vestibular functioning in HIV positive
patients and concluded that vestibular disorders in HIV patients are likely due to the
direct viral effects of the disease on the central areas as early as in the first stages of
HIV infection. It was also found in the above mentioned study that abnormal
otoneurological findings increased progressively as the didease progresses. In this
regard the current study found a prevalence of 18%, 23% and 29% across CDC
categories 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Although descriptively an increased prevalence
was observed with progression of the disease it was not found to be statistically
significant (p>.05; Chi-Square).
Otalgia
Periodical unilateral or bilateral otalgia was reported in 19% of participants. This
finding is similar to that of Chandrasekhar et al. (2000) where a total of 23% of
participants reported otalgia. This study included 50 HIV/AIDS individuals of which
respectively 18%, 38% and 44% of participants were in CDC Category A, B and C.
The prevalence of otalgia in this study is similar to that of Chandrasekhar et al
117
(2000). The general etiology of otalgia can be classified as either otogenic (intrinsic)
or non-otogenic (extrinsic or referred) (Leung, Fong & Leong, 2000). The following
table summarizes the possible causes of otalgia:
Table 5.1:
General causes of otalgia (Leung et al. 2000)
Causes
Clinical Findings
Otogenic/Intrinsic Causes
External Ear
Otits externa
Furunculosis
Impacted cerumen
Foreign body
Trauma
Thermal Injuries
Perichondritis
Cellulitis
Herpes zoster
Myringitis
Middle Ear
Otitis media
Barotrauma
Traumatic perforation of TM
Eustachian tube dysfunction
Mastoiditis
Pain on movement of the auricle, foul-smelling aural discharge
Abscess in the external ear canal
Impacted cerumen
Foreign body in the ear canal
Bruising, ecchymoses,abrasions,contusions,abrasions or
hematoma
Erythematous auricle
Inflamed auricle (no involvement of ear lobe)
Inflamed auricle with involvement of ear lobe
Vesicles on the auricle and external ear canal
Inflammation and blebs on the TM
Inflammation and decreased mobility of the TM
TM erathematous and retracted, middle ear effusion
Perforation of the TM
Retraction and decreased mobility of the TM
Fever, sagging of the ear canal wall skin, tenderness over the
mastoid area
Nonotogenic/Extrinsic Causes
Referred pain
Trigeminal nerve
Facial nerve
Glossopharyngeal nerve
Vagus nerve
Cervical nerve
Miscellaneous causes
Migraine
Aural neuralgia
Psychogenic
Lesions on area supplied by trigeminal nerve
Lesions on area supplied by facial nerve
Lesions on area supplied by glossopharyngeal nerve
Lesions on area supplied by vagus nerve
Lesions on area supplied by vervical nerve
Photophobia
No abnormal finding
Undue anxiety
From table 5.1 it is clear that otalgia in HIV/AIDS patients may originate from a wide
range of sources. This is especially relevant since otolaryngologic manifestations in
HIV/AIDS are common and most HIV/AIDS patients will experience certain headand-neck manifestations during the course of the disease (Rinaldo et al, 2003).
Chandrasekhar et al (1992) reports that otalgia is a frequent symptom in HIV/AIDS
and can be attributed to severe inflammatory changes in the air-cell systems, in not
only symptomatic, but also asymptomatic individuals.
118
As previously mentioned, limited literature describing the prevalence of otalgia in HIV
patients is available. Salzer (1994) reports that approximately 50% of HIV infected
individuals will experience otalgia. The findings in the current study is slightly lower
than previously reported; it should, however, be taken into account that differences in
sample sizes, methodologies and the possible difference in distribution of participants
in the various stages of HIV infection might contribute to these differences. No
significant increase in the prevalence of otalgia was however found throughout the
progression of the disease (p>.05; Chi-Square).
Pruritis of the ear
The prevalence of pruritis of the ear has not previously been reported as a significant
symptom in HIV/AIDS. The current study, however, found that 38% of participants
mentioned experiencing ‘itching’ of the ear out of their own accord when questioned
about otalgia, vertigo and tinnitus. In an unpublished study by De Lange (2007), 2%
of the participants with HIV/AIDS complained of ‘itchy ears’.
Various causes may be related to 'itching ears'; these may include conditions such as
excessive cerumen, chronic otitis externa, non-specific dermatitis, contact dermatitis,
allergic rhinosinusitis, foreign bodies, perichondritis, caricinoma of the external
auditory canal, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, peri-auricular
edema, otorrhea, TM perforation and seborrheic dermatitis (Mansfield & Gianoli
2001). Dermatological manifestations associated with HIV/AIDS are quite common,
and despite its decline in prevalence in patients receiving ART, dermatological
manifestations occur frequently (Stenger & Maurer, 2005).
Seborreic dermatitis is an acquired inflammatory disorder, occuring in as many as
85% of HIV infected individuals. It affects the oil-rich high sebum regions of the skin
(Mansfield & Gianoli, 2001). The scalp face and trunk are usually affected and the
disease presents itself as a 'powdery or greasy scale' (Mansfield & Gianoli, 2001). No
definte progression in prevalence of pruritis were seen throughout the progression of
disease, in fact, a larger prevalence of pruritis was seen in CDC Category 1. These
differences were analysed and no statistical significant difference were found
amongst these groups (p>.05; Chi-Square).
119
5.2.2 Otoscopic examination
Various opportunistic infections manifests itself in HIV/AIDS patients and up to 75%
of these manifestations occur in the head and neck region (Zuniga,1999). A total of
55% of individuals presented with either unilateral or bilateral abnormalities
otoscopically. Around one in three participants (35.5%) investigated otoscopically in
the current study (n=200) presented with redness of the tympanic membrane, which
is often associated with outer and middle ear disorders such as otitis media or otitis
externa. Eight percent (8%) of participants also presented with either unilateral or
bilateral otorrhea in the presence of tympanic membrane perforations The
appearance of the tympanic membrane is highly variable and observations are often
subjective in nature (Ruuskanen & Heikkinen, 1994). Redness of the tympanic
membrane alone does not suggest the diagnosis of acute otitis media (Pichichero,
2000) and has been reported as an inconsistent finding (Ruuskanen & Heikkinen,
1994). Redness of the ear canal and tympanic membrane are however indicative of
some abnormality (See the next section for a thorough discussion of otitis media in
this population in question). A prevalence of 4% otorrhea was found which is similar
to the findings of Chandrasekhar et al (2000) who reported that 5% of participants
presented with otorrhea. Otorrhea has various causes, of which otitis externa and
otitis media with a perforated TM are the most common (Sander, 2001). Considering
these two conditions as primary causes the prevalence of otorrhea in HIV/AIDS
patients, this could be viewed as potential contributing factors to the increased
prevalence of otorrhea in these patients.
Table 5.2:
Causes of otorrhea (Sander, 2001)
Cause
Characteristics
Otitis externa
Acute bacterial
Chronic bacterial
Fungal
Scant white mucus, but occasionally thick
Bloody discharge, especially in the presence of granulation tissue
Typically fluffy and white to off-white discharge, but may be black,
gray, bluish-green or yellow; small black or white conidiophores on
white hyphae associated with aspergillus
Otitis media with perforated tympanic membrane
Acute
Purulent white to yellow mucus with deep pain
Serous
Clear mucus, especially in the presence of allergies
Chronic
Intermittent purulent mucus without pain
Cerebrospinal fluid leak Clear, thin and watery discharge
Trauma
Bloody mucus
Osteomyelitis
Otorrhea with odour
120
Although a smaller prevalence of otoscopic abnormalities per subject, either
unilateral or bilateral were seen in the CDC Category 3 (47%) as opposed to
Category 2 (60%) and 1 (57%), no statistical significance was found in these
differences (p>.05; Chi-Square). Since antiretroviral treatment (ART) is known to
significantly reinstate the immune system of the HIV/AIDS individual (Hoffman et al.,
2007) and the fact that individuals in the CDC Category 3 receives ART, it could
possibly contribute to the lowered occurence of otoscopic abnormalities in the CDC
Category 3.
5.2.3 Tympanometry
Tympanometry revealed that 41% of participants presented with either unilateral or
bilateral abnormalities. A total of 33.3% of participants had unilateral or bilateral type
B tympanograms indicative of middle ear effusion.
A higher percentage of
abnormalities was recorded in otoscopy (55%) than in tympanometry (41%). This is
likely due to the presence of abnormalities which does not affect the functioning of
the middle ear to such an extent that tympanograms are affected but probably also
due to the fact that otoscopy issubjectve as opposed to the objectivity of
tympanometry. Chandrasekhar et al. (2000) reported to have found respectively
67%, 11%, 5%, 2% and 3% type A, B, As, Ad and C tympanograms in the total
amount of ears. These figures are similar to the findings of this study although the
occurrence of type B tympanograms in the total amount of ears (n=400) was more
than twice as much (24%) in the current study. It is however important to consider
that a much smaller number of ears (100) were considered in the study by
Chandrasekhar et al (2000) as opposed to 400 ears in the current study. The
distribution of participants accross the CDC categories was however similar with
small differences in these studies. In the study by Chadrasekhar et al. (2000) 18%,
38% and 44% of participants were classified in respectively CDC Category 1, 2 and
3; the current study found 14%, 47% and 39% in CDC Categories 1, 2 and 3
respectively.
Otitis media in healthy adults is relatively uncommon (Chandrasekhar et al, 2000;
Northern & Downs, 2002). Otitis media was reported to be a present or past
complaint in 23% of 50 HIV positive adults classified in CDC Category 1 (18%), 2
121
(38%) and 3 (44%) (Chandrasekhar, 2000). Otitis media was not diagnosed clinically
in the current study, although inferences can be made from the occurence of certain
otoscopy and tympanometry results. When considering participants either presenting
with a unilateral or bilateral red TM, retracted TM and those with drainage an
estimated prevalence of otitis media comes to 35.5% in the current study. Based on
the occurence of 41% of participants presenting with either unilateral or bilateral type
B or type C tympanograms, roughly 35.5% – 41% of the participants may be
estimated to have presented with otitis media either unilaterally or bilaterally. None of
these however were confirmed medically by an otolaryngologist. Otitis media in
HIV/AIDS patients can occur due to Eustachian tube dysfunction which in turn is
caused by inflammation, atopy, recurrent viral infections, adenoidal hypertrophy,
sinusitis or possible nasopharyngeal masses (Lalwani & Sooy, 1992).
Otitis media occurs as an opportunistic infection in patients with HIV/AIDS.
Immunocompromised patients are more susceptible to various oportunistic infections,
including otitis media and are therefore more easily affected by otitis media. Although
abnormal tympanometry was more prevalent in CDC Category 1, no statistical
significant difference was found across CDC categories (p>.05; Chi Square). The use
of ART might also have reduced the prevalence of abnormalities in the CDC
Category 3.
5.2.4 Pure tone audiometry
Current evidence supports the notion that HIV has significant manifestations also
related to hearing loss due to:
direct effects of the human immunodeficiency virus on the CNS;
opportunistic infections and;
ototoxicity through the treatment of opportunistic infections and
administering of HAART (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010; Khoza & Ross,
2002, Chandrasekar et al, 2000 & Khoza-Shangase, 2010).
Table 5.3 provides a summary of the studies on auditory manifestations in HIV/AIDS.
It compares the prevalence of hearing loss, the type of research methodology
employed, the number of participants, the guidelines according to which hearing loss
122
was defined, the type of hearing loss encountered as well as the distribution of
participants in the CDC categories or stage of HIV infection of the participants. It is
important to note that hearing loss in each of these studies was not similarly defined,
and CD4+ count-grouping or staging of the HIV infection was also not identical in all
studies. This was accounted for as far as possible in order to be able to compare
results of these studies as accurately as possible (See remarks in Table 5.3).
Table 5.3: Auditory manifestations in HIV/AIDS: Review of published reports
(excluding single-case reports) PTA: Pure tone average, average of 0.5 kHz, 1
kHz and 2 kHz; SNHL:Sensorineural hearing loss; CHL:Conductive hearing loss;
MHL: Mixed hearing loss; CDC1: Centres for disease control category 1; CDC2:
Centers for disease control category 2; CDC3: Centers for disease control category 3
(Page 124)
123
Authors
Type of study
Participants
Current study
Cross sectional
200
Teggi et al. (2008)
Cross sectional
De Lange (2007)
Hearing loss
defined as:
HIV Group:
Prevalence
Type of
HL
Subjects
CDC
category
Discussion & Main findings
39%
14%
26.5%
46%
28.3%
SNHL
CHL
CDC1: 13.5%
CDC2: 47%
CDC3: 39.5%
Increase in hearing loss prevalence with disease progression.
60
PTA>15dB
PTA>25dB
Any threshold>25dB
Any threshold>20dB
Not reported
Not defined
Larger % of hearing loss in Category 3.
Abnormal otoneurological findings increased with disease progression.
Especially increased central damage was seen opposed to peripheral.
Cross sectional
54
PTA>25dB
40%
SNHL
CHL
MHL
CDC1: 50%
CDC2: 33.3%
CDC3:
16.67%
CDC1: 14%
CDC2: 38%
CDC3: 48%
Roland et al (2003)
Retrospective
352
Not reported
23.5%
Khoza & Ross
(2002)
Cross sectional
150
Any threshold >25dB
23%
SNHL
CHL
SNHL
CHL
McNaghten et al
(2001)
Retrospective, case
series – medical
record review
Descriptive case
series
3646
0.8%
Not
specified
50
Subjective reporting of
decresed hearing
sensitivity
Not reported
29% of ears
SNHL
Soucek & Micheals
(1996)
Clinical survey of
patients with AIDS
62
Any threshold>20dB
69%
SNHL
Salzer (1994)
Retrospective
(Grand Rounds
Archive)
Prospective study
Cross sectional
study
Not
reported
Not reported
62%
SNHL
18
According to the
National Physical
Laborotory tables.
39%
Retrospective
32
Not reported
Retrospective
138
Cross sectional
Retrospective
Chandrasekhar et
al (2000)
Birchall, Wight,
French, Smith
(1992)
Kohan,
Hammerschlag &
Holiday (1990)
Bell, Atkins & Zajac
(1988)
Sooy (1987)
Marcusen & Sooy
(1985)
Not reported
CDC stages were used as defined by the WHO (2007:15).
Adaptation: Group II and III were classified collectively as CDC2 since
CD4 counts in these groups (WHO) correspond to that of the CDC2
classification. The CD4 count AIDS group in the WHO classification
corresponds to the CDC3 classification.
Ninety eight patients presented with neurotologic symptoms
CDC1: 25%
CDC2: 35%
CDC3: 40%
Not specified
Increase in SNHL with decrease of immunological status
CDCA: 18%
CDCB: 38%
CDCC 44%
CDC3 : 100%
(62 patients
with AIDS)
Not reported
CDCA, B & C was used – clinical (not immunological)
Also incresed prevalence with progression.
Not
specified
CDC1: 33.3%
CDC2: 33.3%
CDC3: 33.3%
One third has abnormalities in either pure tone audiometry or auditory
evoked response. A weak correlation was found between pure tone
average and CD4+ count in advanced HIV stage.
56%
SNHL
CHL
MHL
CDC 3: 100%
No clear way was found to distinguish between ototoxicity and central
lesions for SNHL.
Any threshold>15dB
22%
SNHL
Not specified
25 HIV positive audiograms were compared to 80 000 age matched
controls with statistically significant (p<.05) at most frequencies
35
>=25dB at any
frequency
49%
CDC3: 100%
Abnormal thresholds were mostly at 8000Hz, and 14% had moderate to
severe hearing loss. SNHL is multifactorial in HIV/AIDS.
399
Not reported
Not specified
Mostly
SNHL
CHL
SNHL
CHL
CDC3 :100%
No specific prevalence was reported. 'Occasional cases of sudden
sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss... were seen'
'The frequency of the many causes of hearing loss was not completely
answered by this study..'”
Mostly mild, but occasionally severe sensorineural hearing loss was found
in many, affecting more severely the higher and lower frequencies than the
middle range.
Not reported
124
In Table 5.3, the great variability in research designs, sample size, CDC category
distribution of participants, classification of hearing loss and the classification of
CD4+ counts are evident. In some cases no mention is made regarding the criteria
employed for defining hearing loss or of participants’ HIV status. This possibly, at
least in part, contributes to the variability in terms of the prevalence of hearing loss
that is seen in these studies. Prevalence rates from as little as 0.8% to as much as
69% has been reported (McNaghten et al., 2001; Soucek & Micheals, 1996).
McNaghten et al. (2001) reported a prevalence of 0.8% in a retrospective large
sample of 3646 participants, subjectively reporting hearing difficulty. It is most likely
that hearing loss was underreported, since no audiometric testing was conducted
and prevalence data was compiled purely on the grounds of subjective reports of
hearing loss. The highest prevalence was reported by Soucek & Micheals (1996)
with 69% of subjects identfied with hearing loss. This study was however conducted
among 62 participants with full blown AIDS (CDC Category 3) and their definition for
hearing loss was unrestrictively defined by a single threshold higher than 20 dB HL.
These two facts most likely contributed to the high reported prevalence in this group.
In a study by Chandrasekhar et al (2000) it was reported that CDC-B and CDC-C
clinical categories show significantly poorer pure tone thresholds than for patients in
CDC-A. The classification used in the current study did not classify participants
according to clinical categories, but only to immunological categories. As a result,
even though the immunological and clinical categories are closely related, a direct
comparison could not be made to the study by Chandrasekhar et al (2000). A similar
pattern was observed between the prevalence of hearing loss in these two studies,
with a higher occurrence of hearing loss observed in participants in a more advanced
stage of infection.
Hearing loss was expressed in three different ways in order to most effectively
compare the results to those reported in existing literature (Table 5.3). When looking
at pure tone averages greater than 25dB, De Lange (2007) found a 40% prevalence
of hearing loss while the current study found 14% hearing loss when using this
classification. When considering hearing loss to be a threshold greater than 25dB at
any frequency, Khoza & Ross (2002) found a 23% prevalence of hearing loss, Sooy
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(1987) found 49% prevalence and the current study 26.5%. In cases where hearing
loss was considered to be an elevated threshold larger than 20dB HL at any
frequency, Soucek & Micheals (1996) found a 69% hearing loss while in the current
study a 46% hearing loss was found.
It is clear that even when comparing
prevalence data where hearing loss was defined similarly, some differences still
exist. Hearing loss defined ad PTA>25, displayed an increase in prevalence with the
progression of the disease with respectively 12%, 12% and 18% in CDC Category 1,
2 and 3. This increase was however not found to be statistically significant (p>.05;
Chi-Square). An increase in prevalence of hearing loss was also found in the studies
by Teggi et al. (2008), Khoza & Ross (2002) and Chandrasekhar et al. (2000).
The characteristics of the hearing losses are discussed in section 5.3.1.
5.2.5 Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)
A prevalence of 37% and 41% of OAE abnormalities were found in the left and right
ears respectively. This could be indicative of conductive or cochlear pathology. It
was also found that the prevalence of abnormalities increased with the progression
of the disease. This subjectively confirms the increase of hearing loss throughout the
progression of the disease, even though this increase was not found to be
statistically significant. The difference in prevalence of abnormalities found in OAE
testing was greater than in hearing loss defined as PTA>25dB (p<.05; Chi-Square).
Greater similarity was seen when the prevalence of hearing loss was defined as
PTA>15dB as there was no statistical significant difference between OAE
abnormality and hearing loss defined as PTA>15dB (p>.05; Chi-Square).
5.3
Characteristics of hearing loss
In this section the nature of hearing loss in the sample of subjects in the current
study is described according to the type, degree, configuration, onset and selfreported prevalence of hearing loss.
5.3.1 Types and laterality of hearing loss
The types of hearing loss encountered in this study was mainly sensorineural
(27.5%) followed by conductive hearing loss (14%). The remaining 6.5% of
participants with hearing loss presented with SNHL in the one ear and CHL in the
126
other. In the study by Khoza & Ross (2002), the majority of participants also
presented with SNHL (60%) with a smaller group of 11% reportedly presenting with
conductive pathology whilst 29% presented with a mixed hearing loss. The
differences in the prevalence of types of hearing loss in these studies may be
attributed to differences in the definition of types of hearing loss and also the
composition of the samples.
In the current study, there was no classification for mixed hearing loss since bone
conduction pure tone audiometry was not performed. Therefore, a portion of those
classified with CHL in the current study may also have a sensorineural component
which should more specifically be classified as a mixed hearing loss. In the study by
Chandrasekhar et al (2000), no distinction was made between the prevalence of
SNHL and CHL.
When drawing comparisons regarding the type of hearing loss in each CDC category
in the current study, some patterns become clear. A higher prevalence of bilateral
pathology is evident in CDC Category 3 with an especially high prevalence of
bilateral SNHL (19%) in this category. A similar prevalence of unilateral pathology
was observed in these three categories with CDC Category 1, 2 and 3 presenting
with a prevalence of 18%, 23% and 22% respectively. In general, a higher
prevalence of SNHL was found in CDC Category 3 (33%) as opposed to CDC
Category 2 (26%) and CDC Category 1 (18%). This increase was found to be
statistically significant (p<.05; Chi-Square). This is interesting, as this was not the
case with conductive pathologies in general. A similar percentage (15%) occurred in
CDC Category 1 and CDC Category 3 (16%) as opposed to a lower percentage in
CDC Category 2 (12%). No statistically significant relationship was found in the
prevalence of CHL throughout disease progression.
Chronic CHL might eventually lead to SNHL (English, Northern & Fria, 1973). The
higher occurrence of a persistent conductive pathology in the initial stages of HIV
infection (CDC Category 1) may therefore result in a higher prevalence of SNHL in
the later stages of infection. Individuals in CDC Category 3 are receiving ART and
treatment for opportunistic infections, which poses a greater risk for SNHL due to
ototoxicity (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010). An increased occurrence of opportunistic
127
infections in the later stages of HIV/AIDS can also contribute to direct neurological
effects (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010).
5.3.2 Degree of hearing loss
A large percentage of participants presented with a slight hearing loss (PTA 16 –
24dB) while a progressively smaller percentage of mild, moderate, moderately
severe, severe and profound hearing loss was found. The presence of slight hearing
loss may indicate early stages of hearing loss especially since the majority of
participants with significant hearing loss in this study reported a slow onset (22% of
the 27% of participants who reported subjective hearing loss). These findings are
similar to that of De Lange (2007), who reported an incidence of 15% mild, 6%
moderate and 1% moderate to severe hearing loss. Khoza & Ross (2002) reported
respectively a 34% and 23% mild hearing loss in the left and right ears, with
respectively a 27% and 21% profound hearing loss in left and right ears. The CDC
category distribution of participants in this sample was similar to that of the current
study, with Khoza & Ross, (2002) having respectively 25%, 35% and 40%
participants in CDC categories 1, 2 and 3. In the study by Khoza & Ross (2002)
however, the category of ‘slight’ hearing loss was not reported, as opposed to the
current study where it was reported. It is therefore not possible to directly compare
the percentage prevalence of degrees of hearing loss in these two studies. The
current study included 13.5%, 47% and 39.5% participants in CDC categories 1, 2
and 3 respectively. In the current study it was also observed that a much higher
prevalence of mild hearing losses occurred in CDC categories 2 and 3 as opposed to
Category 1. This pattern may be indicative of a progression in deterioration of
hearing thresholds with disease progression.
5.3.3 Configuration of hearing loss
The average audiogram (average thresholds at each test frequency) displays a
specific average audiometric configuration as illustrated in figure 5.1. Firstly, a
reverse slope configuration is visible in the lower frequencies from 1 kHz to 0.5 kHz.
Furthermore, a gradual high frequency slope is also noted from 1 kHz onwards.
An unpublished study by De Lange (2007), found a similar average group
configuration with a rising configuration towards the mid-frequencies and a slightly
128
falling configuration from the
the mid to the high frequencies. The findings of the current
study reflected similar average audiogram configuration to these studies with a rising
configuration towards the mid frequencies and a gradual sloping configuration
towards the high frequencies.
Soucek & Micheals (1996) found a prevalence of 69% of participants presenting with
SNHL greater than 20dB in parts of the frequency range. A significant number
showed a typical audiogram with noticeable hearing loss in the low and high
frequencies, and little or no loss in the mid frequencies. It should however be noted
that the configuration mentioned in this study was however not the average
audiometric configuration, but that of individual audiograms.
The following graph in Fig. 5.1 visually represents
represents the average audiograms obtained
in three different studies.
125Hz
250Hz
500Hz
1000Hz
2000Hz
3000Hz
4000Hz
8000Hz
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
Current Study Left
Current Study Right
De Lange et al (2007) Left & Right
Soucek & Micheals (1996) Left
Soucek & Micheals (1996) Right
Figure 5.1: Average audiograms in studies in adults with HIV/AIDS Average
thresholds in the study by De Lange (2007) were only collectively available as right
and left ear data whereas the study by Soucek & Micheals (1996) provided average
audiograms for both the left and right ears
129
Figure 5.1 presents a comparative display of the average audiograms in each of the
mentioned studies. From this visual representation it can clearly be seen that a
similar average configuration was found in the current study to that of the study by
De Lange (2007). The average thresholds in the study by Soucek & Micheals (1996)
also displayed a similar configuration; however, while in the current study as well as
the study by De Lange (2007) a steady rise was seen up to 1000Hz with a steady
sloping configuration thereafter, configurations in the study by Soucek & Micheals
(1996) steadily rises up to 2000Hz with a steady slope thereafter. Firstly, this
‘reverse-slope’ configuration might be attributed to the group of participants
presenting with conductive pathologies. Secondly, the high frequency slope might be
more representative of those participants with a sensorineural hearing loss.
5.3.4 Onset of self-reported hearing loss
More than a quarter (27%) of the sample (n=200) reported experiencing some
difficulty in hearing with 22% reporting a slow/progressive onset compared to 5%
who reported a sudden onset of hearing loss. Similar findings were made by
Chandrasekhar et al. (2000) who reported a gradual onset in 21%, a sudden onset in
3% and intermittent in 6% for a total of 29% of participants reporting hearing loss.
Khoza & Ross (2002) reported a total of 16 participants (11%) with a sudden onset
hearing loss and 19 participants (13%) with a gradual/progressive onset hearing
loss. An increase in reports of hearing loss was seen through CDC categories with a
prevalence of 18%, 23% and 35% in CDC Category 1, 2 and 3. This increase in
prevalence was however not found to be statistically significant (p>.05; T-Test).
5.4
Comparing audiometric thresholds across HIV and matched control
groups
A single abstract (Bell et al., 1988) reports on the comparison between the
audiograms of 25 HIV positive individuals and 80 000 age matched controls.
Statistical significant differences were found (p<.05) at most frequencies.
Since
1988 no published reports provide a comparison of audiometric thresholds between
patients with HIV/AIDS and a matched control group without HIV. The current study
provides such a comparison. It should be noted, as discussed in chapter 3, that in
comparing audiometric thresholds in the HIV and control groups, no biological
calibration correction was used for thresholds in either group. This is due to the fact
130
that the control group data was acquired from the hospital’s system and standard
working procedure for the audiometric testing occur onsite outside a sound proof
booth and does not include subtraction of baseline environmental sound levels.
A much larger prevalence of hearing losses greater than 25dB (PTA>25dB) was
found in the left (34.5%) and right (34%) ears of the HIV group as opposed to 5.5%
for the left and 3% for right ears in the HIV group. Comparing the degrees of hearing
loss in each group, a higher prevalence according to degrees of hearing loss was
noted in the HIV group. This difference was especially large for mild hearing losses
where respectively a 26% and 27% difference in prevalence of hearing loss in the
right and left ears was noted.
Statistically significant (p<.05; T-test), larger average thresholds were seen in the
HIV group across all frequencies for both the left and right ears. The effects size for
each of these frequencies ranged from 0.1 to 0.4. A difference of respectively 11.3dB
and 11.4dB were found between the mean pure tone averages for the lefts ears and
the right ears. The effect size of the respective pure tone averages were found to be
0.2 and 0.3 which is indicative of a small to medium effect in the right ears and a
medium effect size in the left ears. The configuration of the average audiograms in
the HIV and control group also differed substantially. The control group presented
with a relatively ‘flat’ average configuration, with a slight decrease in hearing
thresholds toward the high frequencies. The HIV group, however, presented with a
clear average ‘reverse-slope’ which indicates a rise in hearing thresholds from
500Hz to 1000Hz. A prominent decrease in hearing thresholds towards the high
frequencies was also seen.
Interactions amongst various variables (age and gender) across the two samples
were analysed and a significant effect was seen with increase in age (participants
over the age of 55 years); no statistically significant difference existed between the
HIV and control group. In the 17-34 and 35-54 year old group however a significant
difference was seen between the HIV and control group. This might be attributed to
factors related to age, such as presbycusis and the cumulative effect of noiseinduced hearing loss, which may negate the effect of HIV/AIDS on hearing. A small
sample of participants older than 55 years (n=5) might have also contributed.
131
5.5
Conclusion
This chapter provided the reader with the discussion of the results which was
presented in Chapter 4. It highlighted the most important and illuminating findings
and placed the findings within the context of existing literature. The findings suggest
a definite progression of hearing loss prevalence throughout disease progression
and correspond well to certain findings in existing literature. It also shows a
significant difference in firstly the prevalence of hearing loss in the HIV and control
group, as well as a significant difference between the means of all frequencies.
Otological manifestations such as otalgia, pruritis, tinnitus and vertigo occurred
frequently, while middle ear manifestations occurred in almost 1 out of 2 individuals.
Although the presence of certain auditory manifestations in this sample is
undeniable, a clear and predictable pattern of the occurrence of hearing loss and
other manifestations are not evident in the relevant literature. It remains, however,
inevitable for the health care professional to be fully informed about the
manifestations of HIV on the auditory system, to appropriately manage these
individuals.
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CHAPTER 6:
Conclusions and Implications
6.1
Introduction
HIV/AIDS is a worldwide devastating pandemic, affecting the lives of millions of
people both directly and indirectly (UNAIDS, 2009). The annual increase in reported
infection and mortality due to HIV has been a major concern since the initial
discovery of the virus in 1981 (UNAIDS, 2009). Since then researchers have tried to
develop a cure, but without success to this date. However, use of antiretroviral
treatment has brought major changes in the development and course of the
pandemic (Hoffman et al, 2007; UNAIDS, 2009). It has proven to significantly
preserve and reinstate the immune system of the HIV infected individual, resulting in
extended life expectancy. This has led to a systematic shift from issues only related
to mortality in HIV/AIDS to issues related to quality of life.
A review of available literature emphasises a relationship between HIV and auditory
manifestations (Stearn & Swanepoel, 2010; Chandrasekhar et al., 2000; KhozaShangase, 2010). As many as 75% of adults living with HIV are reported to
experience auditory dysfunction due to the HIV infection, as well as due to
secondary effects such as opportunistic infections and combinations of treatment
regimes which are ototoxic in nature (Zuniga, 1999). Initial evidence indicates the
possibility that the prevalence of hearing loss and associated audiological and
otological manifestations of HIV/AIDS increases with disease progression (Lalwani &
Sooy, 1992; Chandrasekhar et al., 2000; Khoza & Ross, 2002). Despite increasing
research interest and a growing body of literature, current findings present with
significant variation. These differences may be attributable to differences in
diagnosis criteria and research design (Khoza-Shangase, 2010). More research is
necessary to describe the nature of these manifestations to equip hearing care
professional to
provide
effective,
evidence-based assessment,
intervention,
monitoring and rapid referrals.
133
The purpose of this chapter is to draw conclusions from this research, both clinically
and theoretically. A critical review of the research procedures and findings is
presented. Limitations and future research recommendations are discussed in
conclusion of the study.
6.2
Conclusions
The following section provides the summarized conclusions as found in the research
project.
The case history indicated a high prevalence of otological complaints amongst
patients with HIV/AIDS including tinnitus (26%), vertigo (25%), otalgia (19%) and
pruritis (38%). Regarding vertigo, an increase in prevalence was associated with
disease progression while in terms of tinnitus a larger prevalence was seen in
the two more advanced stages of HIV infection. Pruritis was a symptom reported
regularly (38%) by participants out of their own accord. The prevalence of pruritis
was more prominent in the CDC Category 1, which included the less
immunocompromised individuals. Small differences were seen in the prevalence
of otalgia, with a slightly larger prevalence in the earlier stage of HIV. No
statistical significant differences throughout CDC categories were found for any
of the above mentioned symptoms.
Otoscopic examination revealed that the majority (55%) of participants presented
with abnormalities (23% unilateral; 32% bilateral). Red tympanic membranes
were a common finding and occurred in 35.5% which may indicate otitis media.
This finding is similar to that of findings in similar cross sectional studies
(Gondim et al., 2000; Principi et al., 1991). A larger prevalence of abnormalities
was seen in the more advanced stages of HIV infection which was not however,
found to be statistically significant.
A large number of participants (41%) presented with abnormal tympanometric
findings (23% unilateral; 18% bilateral). Type B tympanograms were found in
33.3% of ears which roughly indicates one in every three ears (24%). This
relates to results obtained by otoscopy and the fact that otitis media occurs more
134
regularly in HIV/AIDS individuals. No relationship between the progression of the
disease and the increase in abnormalities was however observed.
The prevalence of hearing loss was between 14% (PTA>25dB) and 39%
(PTA>15dB), depending on criteria employed in defining hearing loss. A higher
prevalence was seen when using the high frequency average (average of 2 kHz,
3kHz and 4kHz) as oppose to the pure tone average, indicating more severe
high frequency thresholds.
Pure tone audiometry thresholds demonstrated a statistically non significant
increase in hearing loss prevalence with progression of the disease. This
increase was demonstrated in several different ways of classifying hearing loss.
In instances where the high frequency averages were used to calculate hearing
loss, a higher prevalence of hearing loss was seen. An overall average
configuration with a reverse slope from 1 kHz to 0.5 kHz was seen while a
steady high frequency sloping loss from 2 kHz onwards was seen. This finding is
supported by other research reporting similar average audiometric configurations
(De Lange, 2007; Soucek & Micheals, 1996). Similar to a previous study, a
higher prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) was found as opposed
to conductive hearing loss (CHL) (Khoza & Ross, 2002). The prevalence of
unilateral hearing loss (22%) was similar to that of bilateral hearing loss (19.5%),
while an increase in SNHL and CHL was seen with disease progression. The
increase of SNHL through disease progression was found to be statistically
significant (p<.05; Chi-Square) while the increase in CHL was however, not
statistically significant (p>.05; Chi-Square). With disease progression, an
increase in the number of mild hearing losses was also seen, as well as an
increased prevalence of bilateral SNHL.
The prevalence of self-reported hearing loss was similar to hearing loss defined
as the pure tone average (PTA) being greater than 15dB and also showed an
increase in prevalence with disease progression. No statistical significant
difference were found between the prevalence of self reported hearing loss and
the PTA>15dB while a statistical significant difference were found between the
prevalence of self reported hearing loss and PTA>25dB.
135
The prevalence of reduced or absent OAEs increased with disease progression
and a statistically non significant difference were found between the prevalence
of abnormal OAE findings and PTA>15dB as well as to reports of self reported
hearing loss. A statistically significant difference was however found between
OAE abnormalities and hearing loss defined as PTA>25dB (p<.05; T-test).
In the comparative phase where audiometric thresholds were compared between
subjects with HIV/AIDS and a matched control group, significant differences
were observed. A higher prevalence of hearing loss was seen in the HIV group
as opposed to the control group in all categories of hearing loss (Figure 4.30).
Comparing the degrees of hearing loss in these groups, a higher prevalence of
each degree of hearing loss was observed in the HIV group: Right ears: 44%
and 39% slight hearing losses; 29% and 3% mild hearing losses; 6% and 0.5%
moderate hearing losses; 0.5% and 0% moderate to severe hearing losses; 1%
and 0% severe hearing losses in respectively the HIV and control group (Figure
4.31). Left ears: 39% and 35% slight hearing losses, 32% and 5% mild hearing
losses; 3% and 0.5% moderate hearing losses; 2% and 0.5% moderate to
severe hearing losses; 0.5% and 0% severe hearing losses (Figure 4.32). This
difference in degree of hearing loss was especially large for the mild hearing
losses (Right ears: 29% and 3%; Left ears: 32% and 5% in respectively the HIV
and control group). Average thresholds as well as the mean pure tone averages
of the HIV group were significantly poorer (p<0.05; T-Test) at all frequencies.
The average configuration of the audiogram in the HIV group also differed from
that of the control group. The HIV group displayed an average reverse slope
audiogram configuration from 1 kHz to 0.5 kHz and a sloping hearing loss from 2
kHz to 4 kHz, while the control group presented with a flat average audiogram
configuration.
When considering interactions between variables in the HIV and control group,
statistically non significant differences were found between the groups for male
and female participants older than 55 years of age. This might be attributable to
age related hearing deterioration as well as a relatively small sample size of
individuals older than 55 years in both groups (n=5).
136
6.3 Theoretical and clinical Implications
The main aim of this study was to describe the auditory functioning of a group of
adults infected with HIV and to compare their hearing thresholds to a matched
control group. It is however important to consider the findings of this research and
relevant literature and to discuss the implications of the findings for specifically
developing countries such as South Africa. The following section presents the
theoretical and clinical implications of the findings of the study.
With approximately 5.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa during
2009 (UNAIDS 2010), the HIV/AIDS pandemic has undeniably become one of the, if
not the biggest concern in the health care system of South Africa. This is mainly due
to the large mortality rate and enormous expense in providing effective ART for
infected individuals. This has to some degree overshadowed the devastating impact
of this disease on quality of life of individuals with a now increased life expectancy
due to ART. In light of the findings in this study that shows HIV’/AIDS’s significant
effect on the auditory system, together with the already overwhelming burden on the
health care system of South Africa (Swanepoel, 2006), it is safe to say that very
unique challenges will be presented to the health care system of this country.
In future, the audiologist or hearing healthcare professional will be confronted with
large numbers of HIV infected individuals, with possibly complex audiological and
otological needs. In the light of the existing challenges in audiological service
delivery such as an inadequate number of qualified audiologists, unequally
distributed throughout the public and private health sector (Swanepoel, 2006), it is
almost inevitable that especially the public health sector in South Africa will
experience an enormous burden. The need for larger numbers of qualified
audiologists, of different cultures and linguistic capabilities is pressing.
While the treatment of hearing loss, irrespective of the cause thereof mostly remains
the use of hearing amplification through hearing aids, assistive listening devices or
cochlear implants, budgetary allocations for the treatment of hearing loss would have
to be increased, due to an increase in patient numbers. As evidence suggest, the
hearing profiles of the HIV patient changes with the progression of the disease. This
137
firstly intensifies the need for close monitoring of auditory ability. More importantly
however, a complete diagnostic audiological test battery should be employed to
identify the site of lesion and to monitor changes in each area. This necessitates the
accurate selection of treatment options in such a manner that it is reprogrammable
and adaptable to changes in the auditory system. Frequent visits to the health care
provider will ensure optimum amplification, and not under amplification due to
progressive hearing loss or over amplification due to fluctuating possibly conductive
pathologies. The concept of cochlear implantation in HIV infected individuals also
raises some concern, since firstly the health of the HIV patient will determine his/her
suitability for an operation of this nature, although Roland et al (2003) found that
cochlear implantation in HIV individuals are safe. Secondly, in a developing country
such as South Africa, the question is raised whether the expense of cochlear
implantation is justified in a HIV patient with limited life-expectancy.
In addition to the fast growing need of more qualified professionals and
comprehensive audiological equipment, Hearing health care practitioners and
primary healthcare practitioners should be sufficiently trained, made aware and
updated on new developments in this field. Fortunately a continuous professional
development (CPD) system is mandatory for professional practise in this country
(Swanepoel, 2006). Through this professional development system, health care
professionals earn CPD hours by attending courses, lectures and seminars.
Comprehensive knowledge and understanding regarding the mechanisms of
auditory dysfunction in HIV/AIDS would assist the audiologist in appropriately
managing these patients for effective outcomes. Saying this – it should however be
stressed that the audiologist should form an integral part of the multi disciplinary
team addressing the complex needs of the HIV infected individual. The CPD system
is a tool which could be effectively used to assist all health care practitioners with
acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure appropriate management
and referral of HIV patients. Furthermore, it is also inevitable that awareness
amongst the public and more specifically, HIV infected individuals are created
regarding the potential effects of HIV on the auditory system to further ensure early
treatment and monitoring.
138
Besides the complex and vast consequences that will potentially affect the private,
but more specifically the public health system, HIV/AIDS and its auditory
manifestations could possibly affect various other sectors of society. The level of job
performance will most definitely be influenced. Firstly, absenteeism due to illness,
hospitalization or increased amounts of doctor / audiologist visits leads to decreased
productivity at work. Secondly, an increased number of hearing impaired individuals
in the workforce may lead to poorer performance of certain industries. Hearing is
critical for effective communication in the workplace since most employment
situations
require
verbal
communication
for
effective
business
activities.
Communication is also critical for the ensuring of safety in the workplace. If hearing
loss is not effectively treated, many mistakes will possibly be made in the workplace,
higher rates of unemployment can be expected and an overall reduction in quality of
life can be expected. These quality of life issues include the following: Anxiety,
depression, social isolation, social paranoia, medical health, emotional stability and
cognitive functioning.
The schooling and education sector could also be severely affected. Absenteeism
from school may lead to poorer academic performance in children, undiagnosed
HIV/AIDS related conductive pathologies in children could also lead to poor
academic performance. HIV infected teachers might acquire hearing loss and
subsequently also be absent from class which in turn also leads to decreased
productivity and academic performance in children. This is indeed a reality as
teachers in especially rural areas, often do not have replacements in the case of
absenteeism. Teachers also often do not have the necessary skills, training and
qualification to work with hearing impaired children. Dr Peter Piot, Director of
UNAIDS said: “Without education, AIDS will continue its rampant spread, with AIDS
out of control, education will be out of reach”(UNAIDS 2009).
Household income is a factor which could also potentially suffer severely, as it is
known that hearing impaired individuals often earn less than their normal hearing
counterparts (Kochkin, 2005). In turn, this also has a negative effect on schooling
since families can often not afford to pay for school uniforms and transport to and
from school.
139
South Africa is a country well-known for, and largely dependent on its big industrial
and mining sectors. In these sectors, excessive noise exposure often causes one of
the most common occupational health diseases, namely noise induced hearing loss.
The payment of compensation claims are of great concern to these industries, since
large amounts of money is spent on these claims annually. It is important for the
occupational health practitioner and industrial audiologist to differentiate between
HIV and noise as a possible cause of hearing loss. SNHL occurred frequently in this
study, especially in the more advanced stages of HIV infections. Similarly to noiseinduced hearing loss which affects high frequency audiometric thresholds, HIV/AIDS
has also shown to affect these frequencies in some instances. This poses
challenges in differentiating between NIHL and hearing loss caused by HIV/AIDS.
Effective ways in differentiating between the causes of hearing loss should be used.
The ABR could be a useful tool in this instance since NIHL does not affect the neural
pathways in the same manner as HIV do. In the same sector, companies require of
personnel to undergo entry medical examinations, these examinations also include a
baseline audiometric hearing evaluation. In many cases, potential personnel are not
employed due to a pre-existing hearing loss and potential safety risks in the
workplace. In a country such as South Africa with 5.6 million HIV infected individuals
with possible auditory manifestations, the available workforce can subsequently
diminish.
As implicated in this section, the implications of HIV/AIDS related auditory
manifestations have potentially far reaching implications, some of which might be
long term, and some short term. Irrespective of this, it is clear that a radical plan
should be put in place in order to appropriately manage masses of HIV infected
patients with their associated complex auditory manifestations. Research based
identification, assessment and treatment protocols should be put in place and
presented to government in order to equip the health sector for accountable service
delivery to all patients.
6.4
Critical Evaluation of this Study
The critical evaluation of the study includes the consideration of both the strengths
and the limitations of the current investigation regarding its design, data collection
and analysis procedures. The following strengths of the study have been identified:
140
Strengths of the current study
This study is the first comparative study to use a matched control group
according to age, gender and working environment to compare hearing
thresholds in patients with HIV/AIDS. The prevalence and degree of hearing loss
as well as the average audiograms and audiometric configuration could be
compared. This provides valuable information, as previous studies only provided
descriptive cross-sectional studies of HIV samples (Khoza & Ross, 2002;
Chandrasekhar et al, 2000).
The sample size of this study was the largest for cross-sectional studies of
auditory manifestations in HIV/AIDS. Studies that used larger sample sizes were
retrospective in nature (Roland et al, 2003; McNaghten et al, 2001).
Different types of data were collected, including case history information; self
reported auditory and otological symptoms; objective assessment of auditory
functioning as well as pure tone audiometric threshold determination. These
different types of data serves as a cross-check of findings which is often used in
audiological test batteries.
Limitations of the current study
Pure tone audiometry was not conducted in a sound proof area; this made
diagnostic audiometry with the inclusion of bone conduction testing impossible.
This limited the researcher in identifying specifically conductive hearing loss as
well as mixed hearing loss. In the descriptive section of the research, pure tone
thresholds had to be corrected according to a biological calibration.
Participants were approached during their visit to the infectious disease clinic at
1 Military Hospital and participants in CDC Category 3 were receiving ART. This
treatment was not recorded, therefore it could not be determined if ART as a
confounding variable had a significant effect on the prevalence of certain
auditory and otological manifestations.
141
The possibility exist that participants who volunteered in the convenience
sampling method may have been more prone to participate if in fact they did
have some concern about their hearing, thereby introducing bias into the
research results. Those participants who declined to take part in the study may
not have had any concern regarding their hearing. The number of individuals
who declined to take part in the study was however not recorded.
The audiological test battery employed in this research did not include auditory
evoked potentials; peripheral and central pathology could therefore not be
distinguished and the probable site of lesion could consequently not be
confirmed in all cases.
No measure of identifying the duration of HIV infection was available. This could
also be a contributing factor to the extent of cascading manifestations with time.
6.5
Recommendations for future research
Various new research questions emerged from this study and recommendations for
future research include the following:
Large scale longitudinal studies are necessary to monitor audiological and
otological symptoms and manifestations in HIV patients in order to document the
occurrence of these phenomena throughout the progression of the disease.
Systematic studies are needed in order to determine the separate effects of ART
and medication for the treatment of opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis.
This will provide information regarding the ototoxic properties of these drugs, but
also the protective properties that may be inherent to a more robust immune
system.
Systematic comparative studies are necessary in order to determine whether
pre-existing risk factors for hearing loss and HIV positive status has an additive
effect on the auditory and otological symptoms and manifestations.
142
The compilation and evaluation of a research-based systematic assessment and
management protocol for hearing care professionals as part of the multi
disciplinary team for the management of HIV/AIDS individuals is recommended.
Studies are necessary to investigate the beliefs, attitudes and knowledge of
hearing health care workers and/or audiologists in order to determine the need
for education of hearing care professionals in specifically HIV related auditory
manifestations.
6.5
Conclusion
HIV remains a growing epidemic and worldwide concern. Numerous resources are
being employed to control the spread of the disease and prevent mortality due to the
disease and its manifestations. Life-expectancy of HIV infected individuals has
increased due to the use of antiretroviral treatment measures. This effectively poses
challenges for the management and maintenance of the quality of life of individuals
living with HIV today. Various mechanisms of auditory dysfunction due to HIV/AIDS
have been identified. Current knowledge in this field of research still remains limited
however. It is the responsibility of hearing care researchers to expand the current
understanding of HIV related auditory manifestations to ensure that HIV infected
individuals ultimately have access to preventative hearing health care. This is
especially important due to the lifelong nature of HIV/AIDS, the significantly
increased life expectancy due to highly active antiretroviral treatment and
subsequently the increasingly growing population living with HIV/AIDS and its
auditory manifestations.
143
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APPENDIX A:
_____________________________________________
Ethical clearance
University of Pretoria faculty research committee
160
161
APPENDIX B
_____________________________________________
Ethical clearance
1 Military Hospital research committee
162
Tel: 012 314 0487
Facsimile: 012 314-0013
1 Military Hospital
Private Bag X1026
Thaba Tshwane
Enquiries: Lt Col MK Baker
0143
15 September 2008
1MH/302/6
CLINICAL TRIAL APPROVAL PROTOCOL TITLE: “INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF
AUDIOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS IN ADULTS WITH HIV”
1.
The 1 Military Hospital Research Ethics Committee (1MHREC), comprised of the
following members, and adhering to GCP/ICH and SA Clinical Trial guidelines, evaluated
the
above-mentioned
protocol
and
additional
documents:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
Lt Col M. Baker: Neurologist, male, chairman 1MHREC.
Col H. du Plessis: Surgeon, male, member 1MHREC.
Col H. Ingram: Anaesthetist, male, member 1MHREC.
Lt. Col. D. Mahapa: Dermatologist, female, member 1MHREC
Ms C. Jackson: Layperson, independent of the organization, female, member 1
MHREC.
f. Dr L. Hofmeyr: Otorhinolaryngologist, male, member 1MHREC
2.
The following study protocol was evaluated “Incidence and nature of audiological
symptoms in adults with HIV”, including Appendices A-D.
3.
The recommendations are: The study was ethically approved on 15 September 2008.
The principal investigator Ms. Y van der Westhuizen will collaborate with Lt Col M. Koen.
Report backs are to be made to the 1MHREC six monthly, in the event of any serious adverse
events and on completion or termination of the study.
(M.K BAKER)
CHAIRMAN 1 MILITARY HOSPITAL RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEE: LT COL/ PROF DIST
For Info
Ms Y van der Westhuizen
Lt Col M. Koen
163
APPENDIX C
_____________________________________________
Letter of informed consent
164
Faculty of Humanities
Department of Communication Pathology
Date:
Researcher: Yolandé van der Westhuizen
Tel: 082 583 5104
Fax: 012 420 3517
E-mail adres: [email protected]
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Thank you for showing interest in this research project being conducted at the
Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria. The title of the research
project is: The incidence and nature of audiological symptoms in adults with HIV.
This study will give us a better understanding of the effect of HIV on the auditory (hearing)
mechanism and could assist audiologists to manage auditory complaints proactively and
effectively in HIV patients. The study will involve a series of simple tests of auditory
functioning which is completely harmless and non-invasive. We are aiming at involving
both participants who are HIV positive as well as those who are not. Participation in the
study is voluntary and you may withdraw at any time if you wish to. If you do participate the
following procedures will apply to you:
•
It will be requested that the researcher have access to your medical file for purposes
of acquiring background information.
•
You will be asked a few short questions regarding your ears and problems with
hearing you have experienced previously. This will take approximately 5 to10
minutes.
•
An otoscopic examination, followed by immittance measurements, will be carried out.
You will be asked to sit quietly, while the researcher examines your outer ear canal,
eardrum and your middle ear functioning. These procedures do not require any
response from you and will take approximately 5 minutes.
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, 0002
South Africa
Telephone : 00 27 12 420-2304
Facsimile : 00 27 12 420-3517
[email protected]
www.up.ac.za
165
•
You will then undergo a standard hearing evaluation (pure tone behavioural
audiometry), where you are required to respond to the presence of a sound. This
procedure takes approximately 10 minutes.
•
An otoacoustic emission (OAE) test will then be conducted. This procedure is also
objective and does not require a response from you. During the OAE measurement a
small probe will be placed in the ear.
All the procedures (tests) are non-invasive and only the behavioural (pure tone) procedures
require responses from you. It is also important to note that all information will be treated
strictly confidential and no names will be used. The results will be used for research
purposes as part of a dissertation and possibly future articles and presentations. The data
will be stored for archiving and research purposes for at least 10 years.
By agreeing to participate in this study you acknowledge that future research using the
acquired data may be conducted at a later stage. A copy of your results will be made
available to you, should you request it. You are free to withdraw from the study at
anytime without any negative consequences.
Should you require any further information, you are welcome to contact us.
SINCERELY,
Y.vd Westhuizen
Yolandé van der Westhuizen
Researcher
D. Swanepoel
Dr. De Wet Swanepoel
Supervisor
B. Louw
Professor Brenda Louw
HEAD: Department of Communication Pathology
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, 0002
South Africa
Telephone : 00 27 12 420-2304
Facsimile : 00 27 12 420-3517
[email protected]
www.up.ac.za
166
University of Pretoria
Department Communication Pathology: Audiology
INFORMED CONSENT FORM
INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF AUDIOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS IN ADULTS WITH
HIV
Please complete the following:
Surname:_________________________________
Name:___________________________________
Age:_____________________________________
I, hereby agree to participate in this project and acknowledge that the data may be used for research
purposes. I am aware that I can withdraw from this project, at any time, should I want to.
_______________________
Signature
_______________________
Date
167
APPENDIX D
_____________________________________________
Data capturing sheets
168
169
170
APPENDIX E
_____________________________________________
Informative posters
171
172
APPENDIX F
_____________________________________________
Informative pamphlets
173
174
APPENDIX G
_____________________________________________
Interview question list
APPENDIX G: INTERVIEW QUESTION LIST
1
Does anyone in your family have childhood hearing loss?
2
Do you experience problems with your hearing?
3
Did these problems start suddenly, or did it progress slowly?
4
How often does your hearing problem cause you to struggle with hearing?
5
Do you ever or have you recently experienced any earache?
6
Have you been exposed to loud noise before?
7
Describe the type of noise?
8
Do you experience a ringing or whistling sound in your ear/s?
9
How often do you experience this sound?
10
To what extent does this ringing sound affect you?
11
Do you experience dizziness or imbalance?
12
How often do you experience dizziness or imbalance?
13
To what extent does this dizziness or imbalance affect you?
175
APPENDIX H
_____________________________________________
Medical file checklist
1
Date of birth
2
CD4+ count or percentage
176
APPENDIX I
_____________________________________________
Data collection excel sheet
177
178
179
180
APPENDIX J
_____________________________________________
Standard working procedure – 1 Military hospital
181
182
183
184
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