Did you know anemia, a common blood condition can have an impact on your hearing ability? New research has found that there is in fact a link between anemia and hearing loss. Let’s take a deeper look at how anemia and hearing loss are connected.
What is Anemia?
To better understand just how anemia can affect hearing ability, you must understand what anemia is and how it is caused. Anemia is a condition that is caused by a lack of iron in the body, leading to a reduced number of red blood cells. Because red blood cells helps distribute oxygen around the body, anemia can reduce the amount of oxygen available to tissues. Symptoms include fatigue and weakness. Worldwide, anemia affects hundreds of millions of people, including an estimated 5 million people in the U.S.
How Can Anemia Cause Hearing Loss?
The aforementioned lack of oxygen in the blood is exactly what researchers believe to be linked to hearing loss. Recently, researchers studied over 300,000 adults between the ages of 21 and 90 and found that 1.6% had hearing loss. However, when looking at just the anemic participants 3.4% suffered from hearing loss. This did not come as a big shock, as the ear is extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation. A large portion of participants suffered from either sensorineural hearing loss or conductive hearing loss and both can be due to damage to the ear and or nerve pathways that carry sounds to the brain. When the low hemoglobin blood doesn’t carry enough oxygen to the ear, it puts it at risk of suffering from one of these types of hearing impairments. Researchers are continuing their study in order to find out if iron supplements can improve hearing loss once a the person has treated their anemia.
For now researchers agree that treating your anemia may help prevent hearing loss.You can easily add iron rich foods to your diet by eating more beans, red meat, and spinach or you can try taking a pill supplement. Before taking any supplements, be sure to talk to your physician first. If you have questions or would like to get your hearing tested, contact us today at Krista Szalc, Audiology, PLLC. We have hearing center location throughout Western New York, including Hornell & Dansville.