- Published on 16 January 2017
A large-scale retrospective cohort study has found that iron deficiency anemia (IDA) was positively associated with sensorineural hearing loss and combined hearing loss.
Identifying a possible association between IDA and hearing loss is particularly important because of the high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in the population and the fact that it is easily treatable. The researchers from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine therefore carried out a retrospective study on the basis of data concerning over 300,000 adults living in the United States, aged 21 to 90 years. 43.4% of the evaluated patients were men, and the mean age was 50.1 years.
The researchers assessed the prevalence of IDA and hearing loss in this population, including sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and combined hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss was found to be present in 26 of 2,274 people with IDA (1.1%), while combined hearing loss was found in 77 people with the condition (3.4%). Both results were statistically significant, after adjusting for sex.
The authors conclude that “Further research is needed to better understand the potential links between IDA and hearing loss and whether screening and treatment of IDA in adults could have clinical implications in patients with hearing loss.” Given these findings, it is now important to assess whether early diagnosis and treatment of IDA improve the overall health of adults with hearing loss and the exact nature of the association.
Source: Schieffer KM, et al. Association of Iron Deficiency Anemia With Hearing Loss in US Adults. JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery. 2016 Dec 29.