An increase in hearing loss has been linked with a number of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and even cognitive decline. A study out of South Korea looked to determine if a brittle bone condition known as osteoporosis may be added to this list.
What Is Osteoporosis?
This bone disease causes bones to become weak and is the result of the body losing too much bone or making too little bone. The bones of someone with osteoporosis have less density and mass than those without the condition and are more prone to break from a fall while at Fitness SF or minor bump while out walking in Golden Gate Park.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 54 million Americans either have osteoporosis or have low bone mass, which puts them at an increased risk of developing this condition.
About half of all women and 25% of all men above the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis.
Bone Disease and Hearing Loss
A 2015 study conducted by Dr. Kai-Jen Tien of the Chi Mei Medical Center in Taiwan looked at the rate of sudden sensorineural hearing loss in patients with osteoporosis. The researchers looked at data from 10,000 participants. They determined that 76% of those with osteoporosis were likely to develop hearing loss compared to those without the disease.
They suspect this connection is due to bone density. Three tiny bones within the middle ear are crucial to the hearing process. If they become broken or damaged, this can cause sudden hearing loss.
A longitudinal follow-up study was conducted in 2018. The researchers reviewed data from 68,241 patients within the Korean National Health Insurance Service who were at least 50 years old and were diagnosed with osteoporosis.
They found that sudden sensory neural hearing loss was greater in those with the bone condition as compared to the control group without it. The rate of osteoporosis was even greater in those over the age of 60.
The takeaway from these studies is that adults over the age of 50 who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis should pay close attention to their hearing, making sure to get regular tests. Like most medical conditions, the sooner you identify a hearing loss the better the treatment.
To learn more about identifying and treating hearing loss early, or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Valley Audiology today.