Hearing loss is not uncommon. But, did you know that it is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States? It’s even more prevalent than cancer or diabetes. Another physical condition that is not very uncommon is osteoporosis. Actually, 44 million Americans (more than half of those 50 years old and older) suffer with it.
With so many people dealing with hearing loss and osteoporosis, do you think these two conditions could be linked? Well, new research says they are.
Researchers from the Conservation of Hearing Study analyzed date from about 144,000 women who were followed for up to 34 years for the study. What they discovered is interesting and was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It was revealed that participants in the study with osteoporosis or low bone density had up to a 40% higher risk of moderate or worse hearing loss.
The two most common osteoporosis related fractures are vertebral fractures and hip fractures. A vertebral fracture is so common in fact that many physicians believe that this type of fracture should be suspected in any woman who is at risk for osteoporosis and presents with sudden onset of back pain. Well, interestingly, researchers with the study discovered that a vertebral fracture was associated with a higher risk of hearing loss. But, a hip fracture did not increase the risk.
This discovery can show the differences between the make up of the bones in the hip and the spine and provide understanding into the changes in the bone that surround the middle and inner ear that may contribute to hearing loss.
The reasons how osteoporosis and low bone density assist in hearing loss are hazy. But the researchers do suggest that abnormal bone remodeling and changes in bone homeostasis could influence the stability of the bone that protects the nerves and structures involved in hearing or even change the environment of the cochlea, the part of your ear that sends sound vibrations to your brain.
So, what does all of this mean? It means osteoporosis can increase the risk of hearing loss. If you have osteoporosis or are at risk for it, keep your hearing health in mind. Annul visits to Lemme Audiology Associates will allow our Audiologists to track your hearing health over time and begin to treat a hearing loss as early as possible. Treating a hearing loss early can help you keep in touch with all those sounds and voices you love listening to.
Lemme Audiology Associates is always available to you for your hearing health care! Just call us at (814) 941-7770 to schedule your hearing evaluation or annual visit.