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."
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.”
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.
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