As medical professionals continue to investigate the connection between hearing loss and other health conditions, the link between anemia and hearing loss comes up again and again. While the topic has been studied for over 20 years, additional research is still needed to fully define the relationship between anemia and hearing loss.
Today, we’ll walk you through what anemia is, how it’s treated, and what types of anemia are most common. Then, we’ll take a closer look at what’s known so far about the anemia-hearing loss connection.
In the human body, red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body to various systems and tissues. Anemia is a medical condition characterized by a deficiency of healthy red blood cells. Without enough of these important oxygen carriers, some body tissues suffer from insufficient oxygen supplies. This results in an anemic individual feeling weak or fatigued.
The treatment for anemia depends on the cause and can include anything from dietary supplements to medical procedures. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet may also help prevent some types of anemia.
Anemia can take different forms and have varying causes, and may either be temporary or chronic. Often, there are multiple causes of anemia. Among the most common types of anemia are:
- Aplastic anemia
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Sickle cell anemia
- Vitamin deficiency anemia
If you suspect that you have anemia, it is advisable to see a doctor as it could indicate a more severe underlying illness. Furthermore, it’s important to work closely with a medical professional to determine which type of anemia you have and the appropriate way in which it should be treated. For some types, such as sickle cell anemia, you could actually cause more harm than good by attempting to treat it yourself with an iron supplement.
Now that you know what anemia is, how it’s treated, and what types are most common, let’s look at the link between anemia and hearing loss. How exactly are they related?
First, it’s important to understand that recent research has not proven that anemia causes hearing loss. But study after study has shown that the two conditions are connected. This is most likely due to the fact that the inner ear relies on a sufficient blood supply that is rich with oxygen in order to have healthy hearing. When the blood or oxygen supply is interrupted for any reason, hearing can suffer.
This connection is perhaps most visible in individuals with iron deficiency anemia. Without enough iron to carry oxygen from the lungs, through the blood, and into the inner ear, hearing loss occurs. For some, taking an iron supplement or making a concentrated effort to get more iron in their daily diet is enough to treat the anemia and reduce the risk of hearing loss.
The bottom line is that both current and past research has shown a link between anemia and hearing loss. However, further research needs to be done in order to prove a causal relationship between the two conditions.
In the meantime, some research suggests that successful treatment of anemia could result in the prevention of hearing loss. Taking iron supplements or otherwise attempting to treat anemia should only be done under the supervision of your doctor, however. If you suspect you have anemia or are concerned about it, ask your doctor for a blood test that will prove the presence or absence of the condition. Then, based on the results, your doctor can work closely with you to determine an effective treatment plan if needed.
At Advanced Hearing Group, our mission is to help people hear well so they can live well. Our audiology offices in Mesa and Scottsdale serve clients from all over Mesa, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Queen Creek, and throughout the metro Phoenix area.
Whether you’re concerned about anemia and hearing loss or have noticed hearing changes due to another cause, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us today. Our expert audiologists can perform a hearing test and thorough hearing evaluation to determine whether you do, in fact, have hearing loss. Then, we’ll work closely with you to create the best treatment plan based on your specific hearing needs.
Source: Hear Well-Live Well Blog