A recent study in the US revealed a link between osteoporosis and increased risk of hearing loss. The study (1) revealed that people with moderate or higher hearing loss was 40% higher in the group with osteoporosis. This was a large scale study of over 144,000 women over many years, so it can't be ignored. The simple message here is that if you have osteoporosis, it is a good idea for you to get regular hearing tests. Let's take a look at the study.
The study was undertaken by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital as part of the Conservation of Hearing Study (CHEARS). They analyzed data from a cohort of nearly 144,000 women who were followed for up to 34 years. The researchers used data from two long term Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS) and NHS II. The studies have been following two large cohorts of female registered nurses and were established in 1976 and 1989, respectively.
In both cohorts, the researchers found that the risk of hearing loss was higher in women with osteoporosis or LBD (Low Bone Density) and that taking bisphosphonates did not reduce the elevated risk. They found that the risk of subsequent moderate or worse hearing loss was up to 40 per cent higher in study participants with osteoporosis or LBD.
Difference Between Fractures?
Interestingly, the researchers found that a history of vertebral fracture was associated with up to a 40 per cent higher risk of hearing loss. But that was not the case for hip fractures. A better understanding of why this is the case may also help with the understanding of the link between osteoporosis and hearing loss.
The link between osteoporosis and hearing loss remains unclear, however, it is obvious that there is a link. The researchers are going to undertake further study to see if the intake of calcium and Vitamin D has any effect on hearing loss as they are the most common supplements used to help prevent osteoporosis.
Get a hearing test
The basic message is that if you have osteoporosis, you need to be getting regular hearing tests. Interestingly, Boots Hearing Care has recently begun a partnership with Amgen (a Pharmaceutical company) and Core Rehab offering osteoporosis-related balance assessments and hearing health checks in Ireland.
No matter where you are, as you get older it is important to follow good dietary principles ensuring that you have good sources of calcium and vitamin D. Exercise is also important. If you have osteoporosis, it is a good idea to work regular hearing tests into your schedule.
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