Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens the bones to the point that they become fragile and break easily. Women and men with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist, but any bone can be affected.
In the United States, more than 40 million people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass, placing them at risk for more serious bone loss and fractures. Although osteoporosis can strike at any age, it is most common among older people, especially older women.
HEARING LOSS AND OSTEOPOROSIS
Sound enters your outer ear canal eventually striking a thin membrane (the eardrum). This thin membrane is attached to 3 small bones. One of these 3 bones, the stapes, is the smallest bone in the human body. It is these 3 bones that are susceptible to osteoporosis.
Damage to one or all of the 3 middle ear bones will result in a conductive hearing loss. A conductive hearing loss means that sound is not being transferred efficiently from the outer or middle ear to the inner ear, where the hearing nerve is located. A conductive hearing loss caused by osteoporosis will most likely result in damage to the middle ear bones.
So, the answer to the question, “is there a connection between hearing loss and osteoporosis” is yes, there is a connection. A study from the University of Illinois linked osteoporosis and hearing loss, theorizing that demineralization of the three middle ear bones may contribute to or cause a conductive hearing impairment.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
If you suffer from osteoporsosis and have noticed a change in your ability to hear please consider that the two conditions may be related. If your hearing problem is related to damage to the middle ear and the problem cannot be resolved medically, your hearing problem can still be remediated. Patients with a conductive hearing loss can wear hearing aids and enjoy better hearing for many years to come.