Charleston residents diagnosed with osteoporosis might find it wise to schedule a hearing exam.
Recent research indicates there may be a connection between the bone density disease and impaired hearing.
The Lowdown on Osteoporosis
An estimated 54 million Americans have osteoporosis, a condition in which bone mass becomes less dense over time, increasing the risk of suffering a fracture.
It is most common in older people, particularly women; about half of all women over the age of 50 develop osteoporosis and a quarter of men in the same age group are affected.
Bones most susceptible to fracture are those in the hips, spine and wrist.
In addition to the pain associated with broken bones, osteoporosis sufferers might also contend with poor posture (many end up stooped or hunched over); a decrease in height; mobility issues; isolation and depression.
One in five elderly patients who break a hip will die of complications within one year.
The majority of fractures occur due to falls, but those with severe osteoporosis can break a bone by simply bumping into an object or even sneezing.
What Does Hearing Loss Have to Do with Osteoporosis?
If the connection between hearing loss and osteoporosis seems odd to you, consider how the process of hearing takes place.
Sound waves entering the ear are funneled to the eardrum, a thin membrane attached to the ossicles – a trio of tiny (and extremely fragile) bones in the middle ear.
Because osteoporosis weakens bones, the ossicles are even more vulnerable to fracture in patients with the bone density disease.
Damage to the ossicles results in hearing loss.
Often, there is little warning; patients with osteoporosis can develop hearing loss suddenly.
A study of 10,000 patients with osteoporosis found they were 76 percent more likely to develop sudden sensorineural hearing loss than people without the disease.
They also have a higher risk of experiencing tinnitus, a ringing sensation in the ears that can negatively affect quality of life.
If you or a loved one has osteoporosis in Charleston, schedule an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing exam – even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms of hearing loss.
The condition can be difficult to detect, and early treatment is key.
Related Hearing Loss Posts:
- Conventional Smoke Detectors Might Not Help the Hearing-Impaired
- Risk Factors for Hearing Loss That Might Surprise You
- Tinnitus: What to Know About That Ringing in Your Ears
Other Beaufort Area Audiologists Office Locations
1231 Ribaut Rd
Beaufort, SC 29902
10 Arley Way, Suite 101
Bluffton, SC 29910
23 Main St
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926