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New Research Shows a Link Between Iron Deficiency and Hearing Loss

by April Maguire

Your body needs the proper vitamins and nutrients to operate effectively. Certain vitamins, such as iron, are more important than others. Not only is iron one of your body's most essential building blocks, but according to recent research, it may be also be a critical component of your auditory system. In fact, according to a recent study, a lack of iron in your system could directly relate to a loss of hearing.

Importance of Iron

One of the most important ways that your body uses iron is in the production of red blood cells. These cells, commonly called hemoglobin, travel through the body and delivery essential nutrition to the various organs. Unfortunately, not having enough iron in your system leads to anemia, which results in an insufficient amount of hemoglobin in the blood. As a result, the systems in your body don't receive the oxygen they need to continue functioning at optimal levels.

Physically, people with anemia can suffer from a wide range of problems, including frequent headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, noticeable weight loss and an overall lack of energy. Behind the scenes, however, iron deficiency anemia can wreak havoc on the smaller systems of your body as well, including your ability to hear.

The Study

Inside your inner ear are a multitude of hair-like receptor cells that take in sound information. If these cells don't receive the necessary amount of oxygen, they can become damaged or die off. Once these cells begin to disappear, your ability to take in auditory information and transmit it to the brain is impaired, resulting in hearing loss.

The biology behind this process was detailed in a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine studied more than 300,000 adults between the ages of 21 and 90. Even after controlling for age, the team discovered that individuals with iron-deficiency anemia were twice as likely to develop some type of hearing loss, compared with people who had normal levels of iron in their blood.

While the researchers found strong evidence that a relationship between iron deficiency and hearing loss exists, it's still not entirely clear how that relationship functions. So even though you may be tempted to stock up on iron supplements to preserve your hearing, you should probably hold off for the time being. Still, eating foods that are rich in iron can be good for your overall health, so don't be afraid to include leafy vegetables, fruit, poultry and seafood to your weekly meal plans.

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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