“Osteoporosis”—it means, “porous bone” and refers to a condition in which old bone begins to be replaced more slowly than before; that leads to a decrease in the density and quality of bone, making breakage far more likely. You’ve probably heard quite a bit about osteoporosis in relation to the risks of falls in older people. What might surprise you about osteoporosis is that it shares a trait with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and other maladies like hearing loss. In fact, one study found that osteoporosis may nearly double one’s risk of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL).Just how or why osteoporosis contributes to the likelihood of SSHL is yet to be determined. But the connection between those conditions has been recognized for a while, now. Among the most recent reports is a study out of Taiwan, published in 2015.
Taiwan researchers who studied a random sampling of 1 million people found that patients with osteoporosis had close to a two-fold risk of SSHL. Those who appeared to be at the greatest risk were women, in general, and adults 50-plus; patients with hypertension also indicated an increased SSHL risk.
None of the above has determined that osteoporosis is a direct cause of SSHL, but it’s certain that osteoporosis is something to be avoided by taking steps to maintain bone health with some lifestyle changes:
- Don't use tobacco
- Avoid excessive drinking
- Exercise regularly (using a doctor-approved regimen)
- Keep yourself a healthy bodyweight
- Eat neither too much or too little
- Maintain a healthy diet that includes protein, calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients
And here’s some more info you should have on SSHL, also known as “sudden deafness:”
- Hearing decreases simply on-the-spot or over the course of days
- It's more likely to happen in one ear than in both
- Steroid therapy is a common treatment
- Cases have been known to reverse on their own
- Common treatment includes steroid therapy
- Causes often go unidentified: head injury, ototoxic drugs, infectious disease, circulation problems, and thyroid disorders are some of the possibilities