Is there a link between iron deficiency and hearing loss?

Your body needs the right nutrients in the right amounts to support its overall function and to ensure that everything is working as it should.

But is it possible that the deficiency of one important nutrient can put you at risk for hearing loss? According to researchers, iron deficiency and anaemia during childhood may affect your hearing later in life.

The study was conducted at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and followed 305 339 adults between the ages of 21 and 90.

The results of the study showed that those who suffered from anaemia as a result of iron deficiency (IDA) were twice as likely to have hearing loss later in life than those with sufficient amounts of iron.

“An association exists between IDA and hearing loss,” wrote the authors of the study. “The next steps are to better understand this correlation and whether promptly diagnosing and treating IDA may positively affect the overall health status of adults with hearing loss."

Earlier research

Decades ago, a study conducted with rats showed the same outcome. This study showed that there might be a link between sudden sensorineural hearing loss and iron deficiency.

This study showed a significant result in the loss of spiral ganglion cells, abnormalities of the cochlea and changes in the hair cells of the ears when the rats were not fed enough iron.

What is the link?

What exactly is it that links this decline in hearing function to iron deficiency anaemia? According to specialists, while the studies prove that the right nutrients are needed to maintain proper hearing function, they don't provide positive proof that iron deficiency anaemia causes hearing loss (there is only a connection).

Ear-nose-and-throat specialist Peter Steyger of Oregon Health & Science University’s Oregon Hearing Research Centre, maintains there are several aspects that could link iron deficiency and hearing loss.

"Iron is clearly required for normal functioning of the auditory system, as for many other organs, and too little can result in anaemia, the loss of haemoglobin in red blood cells which carry oxygen to the tissues in the body. Too little iron can also disrupt the workings of cells and even kill them, leading to hearing loss if that happens to hair cells in the inner ear”, he said.
Is there a link between iron deficiency and hearing loss? Is there a link between iron deficiency and hearing loss? Reviewed by adnan sarwari on October 06, 2018 Rating: 5

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