If you have osteoporosis, there’s a chance that you may also experience hearing loss. These comorbidities are often related to one another.
A study from 2021, concluded that the risk of hearing loss for women who had a low bone density, or osteoporosis, was 40 percent higher than for those without low bone density.
Bisphosphonate, an osteoporosis drug, did not appear to reduce any risks of hearing loss. More research is needed for a conclusive answer.
Osteoporosis happens as a result of bone breaking down at a faster rate than it can be replaced by the body. This leads to higher risks of bone fractures. It can happen to anyone, but it is most common in Asian and white women.
One of the most prevalent chronic conditions that impact older adults is, hearing loss. The main risk factor, and only preventable type of hearing loss, is exposure to noise. When this gets paired with aging, it exponentially raises the risks. Additional health problems, like anemia, diabetes, and heart disease can create even more risks. But these aren’t the only causes of hearing loss.
What is the Connection between Osteoporosis and Hearing Loss?
The actual relationship is still being determined for certain, but they are suggesting that tiny bones in the ears lose their minerals and weaken. These bones are vital for your hearing system. Osteoporosis may also negatively impact the bones that support the nerve structures used for hearing. These are found in the cochlea.
Low bone density, osteoporosis, or a medical history of fractures could lead to higher risks of hearing loss. Regular hearing tests are important, especially when there’s an onset of hearing loss. Most hearing loss is so gradual that you don’t notice it. It may seem like everyone is mumbling. Hearing tests and immediate treatment is crucial to preserving your residual hearing.
Sudden Hearing Loss
According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, it’s unlikely, but sudden hearing loss can be common in patients with low bone density and osteoporosis.
Sudden hearing loss normally occurs in one ear and tends to happen all at the same time or within a few days. Nearly all sudden-onset hearing loss is “idiopathic”, which means that the cause is unknown. For the few numbers of cases where a cause is found, the connection to osteoporosis is a meaningful discovery.
Hypotheses about the onset of sudden hearing loss include a relationship with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular systems along with bone demineralization, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction (issues involving blood vessel linings).
Osteoporosis and Balance
Some people with hearing loss also tend to have balance issues. This can lead to falls, bone fractures, and even death.
Prevent falls by wearing hearing aids, and if needed prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, assistive listening devices, keeping up with an active lifestyle, and making sure there are safety measures in place where you live.
What should You lookout for if You Have Osteoporosis?
Pay close attention to your hearing health and your bone health. If your healthcare provider does not take that correlation seriously, advocate for yourself and make your concerns known.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss for any reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.