Monday, April 17, 2017

Iron Deficiency Anemia Linked to Hearing Loss, New Research Says

A link has been discovered between iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and hearing loss, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, "Association of Iron Deficiency Anemia With Hearing Loss in US Adults." 

Hard of Hearing

Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine’s Kathleen M. Schieffer and her research team studied 305,339 men and women with ages ranging from 21 to 90 years old and discovered a positive association between iron deficiency anemia and both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Out of those studied, 4,807 had hearing loss and 2,274 had iron deficiency anemia.

The study concluded that iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is tied to hearing loss, with the authors stating, "An association exists between IDA in adults and hearing loss. The next steps are to better understand this correlation and whether promptly diagnosing and treating IDA may positively affect the overall health status of adults with hearing loss.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia

"Many of the signs and symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia apply to all types of anemia.

"The most common symptom of all types of anemia is fatigue (tiredness). Fatigue occurs because your body doesn't have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to its many parts.

"Also, the red blood cells your body makes have less hemoglobin than normal. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells. It helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

"Anemia also can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, coldness in your hands and feet, pale skin, chest pain, weakness, and fatigue (tiredness).

"Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency may include brittle nails, swelling or soreness of the tongue, cracks in the sides of the mouth, an enlarged spleen, and frequent infections."

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services: National Institutes of Health (NIH)


NOTE: Resist the urge to self-diagnose. If you suspect you are anemic, please visit your doctor for a professional opinion.

Anemia and Hearing Loss Research

The risk for sensorineural hearing loss, which affects nerves in the inner ear, was 82 percent higher in those who are iron deficient. There was a risk, though a lesser risk, for those with conductive hearing loss, which affects problems in the ear canal, eardrum or bones of the middle ear. Out of the over 305,000 people studied, 132,551 were men with an average age of 50 years old. The study found a 1.6 percent prevalence of combined hearing loss and 0.7 percent prevalence of anemia.

Further research is needed to conclude whether screening and treatment for anemia amongst adults can impact the risk of hearing loss for future hearing care patients. The reason this research is so valuable is because having a better understanding of iron deficiency anemia’s link to hearing loss can help with early detection to allow time for appropriate treatment.


MaxiAids has been serving the deaf, the hard of hearing, the blind, those with low vision, as well as seniors, and the disabled for the past 30 years as a leader in providing assistive devices for independent living. Browse our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Store 



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