A study has found that iron deficiency anemia is associated with hearing loss.

An American study has demonstrated a relationship between iron deficiency anemia with both sensorineural hearing loss and combined hearing loss (also called a mixed hearing loss) in a population of adult patients.

The study found that both sensorineural hearing loss and combined hearing loss (mixed hearing loss) was significantly associated with iron deficiency anemia. The increased risk of sensorineural hearing loss was 1.8 and the increased risk of and combined hearing loss was 2.4 among adults with iron deficiency anemia, after adjusting for sex.

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a type of anemia – a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Iron deficiency anemia is due to insufficient iron.

Why this relationship

The researchers behind the study explain that the inner ear is very vulnerable in terms of the flow of oxygen when there is only a single artery delivering blood to the area. When the supply of oxygen to the blood is reduced, the amount of red blood platelets falls as well as the blood’s ability to transport oxygen which damages the hearing.

About the study

The study was carried out by researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the US. The study used data from de-identified electronic medical records from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey in Pennsylvania.

Out of 305,339 patients in the study population, there was a 1.6% prevalence of hearing loss and 0.8% prevalence of iron deficiency anemia.

The study, “Iron Deficiency Anemia is Associated with Hearing Loss in the Adult Population”, was published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery.

Sources: ”Hørelsen”, The Danish Magazine for the hard of hearing and JAMA Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery.

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