If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis in Lexington, you should schedule an appointment with an audiologist, according to a growing body of research. What does a bone density disease have to do with hearing loss? Plenty, it turns out.
Osteoporosis affects around 54 million Americans – a pretty sizable number that translates to over one in five Americans. It is most likely to strike older people, especially women; studies show that roughly half of all women aged 50 and older will experience osteoporosis, and about 25 percent of men in the same age group will be affected.
In patients with osteoporosis, bone mass becomes considerably less dense, increasing the risk of fractures. Bones in the hips, spine, and wrist are especially vulnerable. Broken bones are painful; individuals also frequently experience decreased height, stooped or hunched posture, limited mobility, isolation, and depression. 20 percent of elderly patients who break a hip end up dying of complications within a year. Most fractures are the result of falls, but in severe cases, even something as innocuous as a minor bump or sneeze can result in a broken bone.
The Connection Between Osteoporosis and Hearing Loss
You might be wondering what correlation low bone mass has on your hearing. To understand the connection, let’s look at the mechanics involved in the hearing process. Sound waves enter your outer ear and travel to the eardrum, a thin membrane attached to the ossicles, a trio of tiny bones in the middle ear. These bones are especially fragile; when damaged, hearing loss occurs. The bone-weakening properties of osteoporosis increase the likelihood of a fracture in these bones.
Hearing loss caused by osteoporosis can occur suddenly and without warning. One study looked at 10,000 patients with osteoporosis and concluded they were 76 percent more likely to develop sudden sensorineural hearing loss than people without the bone disease. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is also more common in patients with osteoporosis.
With such a clear connection, anybody with osteoporosis in Lexington should make hearing screenings a routine part of their medical care.