Hearing loss has been linked with a number of other health conditions including dementia, heart disease and diabetes. According to research, a bone density disorder known as osteoporosis should also be added to this list.
Osteoporosis is a bone disorder that occurs when your body is unable to produce new bone as fast as old bone is broken down. This leads to weak and brittle bones that can fracture from mild stressors. Something as simple as coughing or bending down to pick up litter from Sauvie Island can cause a bone to break. The most common locations of an osteoporosis-related fracture are the hip, spine or wrist.
While this bone disease can affect people of all ages and genders it is most often seen in women who are past menopause. Symptoms of osteoporosis include:
- Loss of height
- Stooped posture
- Easily broken bones
- Back pain
There are a number of risk factors when it comes to developing osteoporosis. In addition to your gender, age, race, family history and body frame size, your hormone levels, diet, use of steroids, other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can all play a role in your bone health.
In order to diagnose this condition, your doctor will use an X-ray to determine your bone density. Treatment depends on the results of this test and may include bisphosphonates, monoclonal antibody medication, hormone-related therapy or bone-building medications.
Hearing Loss and Osteoporosis Research
Dr. Kai-Jen Tien of the Chi Mei Medical Center in Taiwan published a 2015 study looking at the increased risk of sudden sensorineural hearing loss in patients with osteoporosis. He and his team examined data from 42,640 Taiwan residents. A total of 10,660 had been diagnosed with osteoporosis between 1999 and 2008; 31,980 did not have the condition. The researchers determined that those with the bone disorder had a 1.76 times higher risk of developing hearing loss compared to the control subjects.
A study published in 2018 looked at an even larger patient group. Researchers used data entered between 2002 and 2013 from the Korean National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort. The health data from 68,241 patients who were diagnosed with osteoporosis was compared to 68,241 who did not have a bone disorder. The researchers determined that the risk of developing sudden sensorineural hearing loss was greater in those with osteoporosis than in the control group.
The Importance of this Connection
If you have been diagnosed with low bone density, now is the time to get your hearing tested. Like most medical conditions, hearing loss treatment works best when started early.
To learn more about the connection between osteoporosis and hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Mt. Hood ENT today.