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Can Iron Deficiency Indicate Future Hearing Problems?

Researchers have recently discovered a possible link between iron-deficiency anemia and hearing loss—particularly those under the age of 45.

Conducted in Taiwan, the new research found that the rate of prior iron-deficiency anemia was 45% higher among those who experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss than among controls (4.3% vs. 3.0%).  The correlation was more pronounced in those 44 years or younger. For those 60 years and older, there was no significant increase in the association between prior iron-deficiency anemia and sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

After analyzing the study’s data, Dr. Shih-Han Hung from Taipei Medical University Hospital said, “…I think having patients with hearing loss, whether sudden or not, checked for their iron status might be a reasonable recommendation.”

According to Dr. Hung, it is still unclear if complete correction of iron-deficiency anemia status would help directly avoid the development of hearing difficulties. However, early detection and management of both health issues will significantly benefit one’s quality of life.

Independent studies show that early acceptance of hearing difficulties and utilization of hearing devices can positively affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life as well as lessen their risk of developing other health concerns linked with untreated hearing loss, especially in children.

Last updated: May 20, 2014

 

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