Conditions that co-occur in the same person at the same time are known as comorbidities. One comorbidity of hearing loss is iron-deficiency anemia. In fact, there’s a growing body of evidence that these conditions are linked. We review this connection below.
What Is IDA?
Anemia occurs in people who have decreased levels of hemoglobin in their red blood cells, meaning the red blood cells can’t carry oxygen to their tissues as effectively. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type, and it occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron to make hemoglobin.
Symptoms of IDA include:
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Tingling in the legs
- Tongue swelling
- Cold hands and feet
- Fast, irregular heartbeat
- Brittle nails
IDA most commonly occurs in women during menstruation and pregnancy. Poor diet and intestinal diseases can also cause IDA.
Connection to Hearing Loss
A few studies have linked IDA and hearing loss.
One 2017 study examined data from 305,339 adults between the ages of 21 and 90. They found that those with IDA were twice as likely to experience hearing loss than those without the blood disorder. While the study didn’t indicate that IDA causes hearing loss, it did establish a strong relationship between the two.
According to study authors, “An association exists between IDA and hearing loss… 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.”
Another study from 2002 found that people who eat iron-rich diets have better high-frequency hearing.
The reason for this link has to do with how your inner ears function. Within the inner ears are sensory hair cells that rely on oxygen from a healthy flow of blood. With IDA, your cells can’t deliver oxygen properly, and the inner ears are starved of it.
If You Have IDA…
You should eat an iron-rich diet if you have IDA, including:
- Red meat from The Country Meat Market.
- Dark leafy vegetables.
- Dried fruit.
- Iron-fortified cereals and pastas.
In addition, you should schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist for an evaluation. For more information or to schedule a visit, call SoundLogic today.