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Hearing Loss May be Associated with Iron Deficiency Anemia

A 2014 study found that 15% of adults have difficulty hearing. A recent study suggests that there may be an association between sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss and iron deficiency anemia.


Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner-workings of the ear, specifically the cochlea or the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Conductive hearing loss occurs when the bones of the middle ear are damaged.


Participants in the study included 305,339 people between the ages of 21 and 90. Their de-identified electronic medical records from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center were provided to researchers. Forty-three percent of the participants were men and the average age was 50. The cohort had a 1.6% prevalence of combined hearing loss, which was defined as any combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. They also had a 0.7% prevalence of iron deficiency anemia.


Analysis of the data confirmed that the risk of having conductive and/or sensorineural hearing loss was higher among adults with iron deficiency anemia.


Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 29, 2016, in JAMA Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.


Iron deficiency anemia can cause fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain. Severe iron deficiency anemia can lead to heart problems. If you wish to add more iron to your daily diet, try to eat more lean, low-fat red meats. If you’re a vegetarian or just prefer not to consume a lot of meat, try legumes, lentils, soybeans, whole grains and green leafy vegetables, as they are also great dietary sources of iron.

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