Iron and hearing loss, say what ?

By Dr. Alan Kadish NMD

With hearing loss a frequent experience, especially as we age, it makes sense to check on the obvious in this case, iron. The catch is that you need to have your iron checked from a number of lab results, not just the typical serum iron (iron that’s in your blood). Once again having the whole story can really make a difference. Not surprisingly pregnant women were found to be suffering from hearing loss more often than many others. And remember this is not the only consideration. See our article on taking tylenol® and other over the counter pain meds and your hearing.

Labs:

The study, done at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, evaluated 305,339 adults, with a wide range of ages, from 21-90 years of age. They used both hemoglobin and ferritin, two compounds found in blood and used to assess iron status to determine if one had iron deficiency. Proper iron testing involves a group of results. Hemoglobin, the molecule that carries your oxygen to tissues and has a fair amount of iron, is one of the easiest and least expensive tests, but is not adequate to give you the whole picture. One of the most overlooked is the serum (in the blood) ferritin, a protein that transports iron.  Think of ferritin as being similar to a bus carrying your iron to the appropriate stop.  Along with this result should also be the total iron binding capacity (TIBC), which translates to how many seats on the bus are available and then the unsaturated iron binding capacity (UBIC) level which tells us how seats many are not occupied. By doing some math we get a saturation percentage, think bus seats that are occupied. When your clinician has all the details they can really evaluate your iron status and let you know if you’re anemic or have something else to consider.  

Hearing testing:

How do you know you’re losing your hearing, even in sublte ways…. check where you turn your volume control on your phone/stereo/TV……is it higher or lower than other prefer. Higher than say 2-5 years ago or do you find yourself craning your head towards one side to hear a conversation ? How about asking people to repeat themselfves often or taking down incorrect information when on the phone ? All of these are signs of hearing loss.

How do you know you’re losing your hearing, even in subtle ways…. check where you turn your volume control on your phone/stereo/TV……is it higher or lower than other prefer. Higher than say 2-5 years ago or do you find yourself craning your head towards one side to hear a conversation ? How about asking people to repeat themselves often or taking down incorrect information when on the phone ? All of these are signs of hearing loss.

What do you do if you suspect your hearing is being impaired ? You can start by downloading a simple app for your phone and doing some self testing. You can see an audiologist and keep in mind many will do a quick evaluation free of charge if they sell hearing aids. Some communities and hospitals run clinics so check before you spend some dollars. There are multiple types of hearing tests. The most accurate will incorporate both the hearing tones, bone conduction and then hearing in noise. The hearing in noise testing is a real life evaluation as it mimics background conversation and your ability to clearly hear the speaker. We have been using this form of testing at the Center of Health since 2003 and find it really makes the difference in having our patients hear and experience their hearing.

And let’s not forget the obvious… did someone look in your ears for an accumulation of ear wax ? Too often this is missed and considering it’s so easy to rectify…..

Want to really be thoroughly examined and know what’s going on and get some potential solutions ? Call and make an appointment at the Center of Health 541.773.3191

Iron Deficiency Anemia and Hearing Loss

Question Is iron deficiency anemia associated with hearing loss in the adult population?

Findings In this retrospective cohort study of 305,339 young to elderly adults, iron deficiency anemia was positively associated with sensorineural hearing loss and the presence of combined hearing loss.

Meaning Additional studies to examine how iron supplementation influences hearing status are warranted.

Abstract
Importance Hearing loss in the US adult population is linked to hospitalization, poorer self-reported health, hypertension, diabetes, and tobacco use. Because iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is a common and easily correctable condition, further understanding of the association between IDA and all types of hearing loss in a population of US adults may help to open new possibilities for early identification and appropriate treatment.

Objective To evaluate the association between sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and conductive hearing loss and IDA in adults aged 21 to 90 years in the United States.

Design, Setting, and Participants The prevalence of IDA and hearing loss (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes 389.1

[SNHL], 389.0 [conductive hearing loss], and 389 [combined hearing loss]) was identified in this retrospective cohort study at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Iron deficiency anemia was determined by low hemoglobin and ferritin levels for age and sex in 305 339 adults aged 21 to 90 years. Associations between hearing loss and IDA were evaluated using χ2 testing, and logistic regression was used to model the risk of hearing loss among those with IDA. The study was conducted from January 1, 2011, to October 1, 2015.

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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.