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Iron Deficiency Anemia Linked to Hearing Loss

by April Maguire

Iron deficiency anemia can lead to a number of problems, which is bad news for the millions of people around the world who suffer from the condition. In addition to fatigue and dizziness, it can also result in more serious issues such as soreness and muscle weakness. Increasingly, scientists are uncovering a new symptom, as it appears iron deficiency anemia can be linked to certain types of hearing loss.

Iron Deficiency Leading to Hearing Deficiency

As the name implies, iron deficiency anemia is caused by not having enough iron in your blood. This lack of iron leads to fewer red blood cells, which in turn means that the organs in your body may not get the oxygen they need to remain healthy and productive. So how does this type of anemia lead to hearing loss?

First, it’s important to understand that there are different types of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear, the auditory vestibular nerve, or the hearing centers in the brain are damaged. Conductive hearing loss, on the other hand, occurs when sound physically cannot travel through the ear, as the result of a blockage or a perforated eardrum. So far it seems that iron deficiency anemia only has an effect on sensorineural hearing loss.

In fact, it appears that this type of anemia can damage the body’s hearing centers in more than one way. For starters, not having enough iron in your blood can cause the myelin sheath around the nerve cells in the ear to deteriorate, resulting in a loss of hearing ability. Moreover, iron deficiency anemia can lead to a number of different blood disorders that can damage the blood vessels in the ear and also cause hearing impairment.

Most Recent Study

On December 29th, researchers published findings based on looking at the medical records of 300,000 patients in Pennsylvania. After examining these records, the researchers discovered that people with iron deficiency anemia were almost twice as likely to have sensorineural hearing loss. Additionally, the patients were more than twice as likely to have combined hearing loss, which consists of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Although, no direct link has been found between anemia and conductive hearing loss on its own.

Despite the strength of these findings, the researchers caution that more information is needed. For example, the study didn’t take into account lifestyle choices, such as smoking, or additional diseases, such as diabetes. Also, the study didn’t take the sex of the patient into account. So while the findings do show that a link between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss exists, more research will need to be done in the future.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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