Are there any links between hearing loss and osteoporosis?
The research does indicate there is a connection. Osteoporosis is the medical term given to a progressive metabolic disorder affecting both men and women. Women have higher incidence of this disorder. Although all nationalities or ethnic groups may be affected, it is most commonly found in Caucasians and women of Asian descent.
Osteoporosis is the degeneration of bone tissue that can cause loss of bone density which can increase the risk of bone fractures. Osteoporosis occurs when the bone is being broken down faster than the body can replace it. This process leads to bone weakness and thus increasing the likelihood of breakage.
Approximately 40 million Americans in 2015 either have osteoporosis or are at risk for developing the disease. Since this time it is estimated to have almost doubled.
And in 2006, researcher discovered a possible link between osteoporosis and otosclerosis. Otosclerosis is a bone condition which affects the bones of the middle ear. The bones of the middle ear, known as the ossicles, become fixed together into an immovable mass, thus not able to transmit the sound to the inner ear.
Only about 3 percent of the population has otosclerosis. This creates a conductive type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can be corrected by both hearing aids and surgical intervention. If the bony mass has affected the otic capsule of the inner ear then a sensorineural hearing loss. This type of loss is not surgically correctable.
Hearing aids are worth trying. If one has both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss this is known as mixed hearing loss. This type often finds patients as "advancing otosclerosis." Otosclerosis often occurs during pregnancy and may be genetic. It has a viral aspect to it as well. If the hearing loss is found not to be otosclerotic in nature, it does not mean that it is not related to osteoporosis. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss, appears to be greater in those an osteoporosis diagnosis.
In 2015, research suggested the increased of developing a sensorineural hearing loss was 1.76 times greater than that of a people with bone disease. In many previous reports, there appears to be a relationship, however casual in nature, risk which still remains between these two diseases.
Even when researchers have followed patients who were diagnosed with osteoporosis but not with hearing loss the rate of sudden deafness increased to 1.76 in the comparison groups. The true relationship between these two disorders remain, however, it is important that your audiologist or hearing healthcare provider understands the correlation and not ignore the possible increased risks.
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Patricia Larson Shields, AuD FAAA MA CCC-SP/L is a doctor of audiology with her degree from The School of Audiology of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in February, 2003. She has been in business in Mitchell, SD since September, 1991.