New study finds that fibromyalgia patients have a higher risk of developing hearing loss

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The study, based on the results of a health survey, found that patients with fibromyalgia and patients with other musculoskeletal pain disorders had a 4.5 fold increased probability of developing impaired hearing.

Until now, there have been contradictory findings concerning hearing in patients with fibromyalgia, a neurological disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and sleep, memory and mood symptoms.

To develop knowledge in this area, researchers in Trondheim, Norway, carried out a study including 44,494 people from the second health survey in Nord-Trøndelag (HUNT2) who had undergone audiometry and who answered a comprehensive questionnaire that mapped fibromyalgia, musculoskeletal pain at various sites, and subjective hearing loss.

The study found this higher risk for patients with fibromyalgia but interestingly also for those with local and widespread musculoskeletal pain. There appeared to be a correlation between the extent of pain and the risk of hearing impairment.

In their article, published in November in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, the authors conclude that: “The finding supports the increasing recognition that medically unexplained pain conditions may pertain to a larger spectrum of symptoms, and that a common denominator for the different symptoms might be a more general dysregulation in perception of sensory stimuli.”

Source: Fibromyalgia news today; Stranden M, et al. Are persons with fibromyalgia or other musculoskeletal pain more likely to report hearing loss? A HUNT study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2016 Nov 16;17(1):477.

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