Hearing loss can be a natural part of aging, but for some loss of hearing comes faster than others. Numerous studies link health conditions to hearing loss and recently, a link has been discovered between gout and hearing loss. Regardless of your age, regular hearing tests should be part of your health regiment. Call Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center today to get a hearing evaluation so you can keep track of your hearing health.
Hearing Loss and Seniors
A national health survey done recently found 65% of adults over the age of 70 are experiencing hearing loss. Hearing loss, while complicating communication, also generally lowers the quality of a person’s life and can exacerbate other medical issues including danger of stroke, dementia and cardiovascular disease.
While gout has not been directly connected with hearing loss in the past, the risk factors for gout – older age, male and cardiovascular disease – are very similar to risk factors for hearing loss. A new study connects gout to an increased risk of hearing loss in the elderly.
Inflammation and oxidative stress are found to be causes of hearing loss and are also part of the pathology of gout. There have been study conclusions that have speculated that inflammation and oxidative stress can trigger cell death in the cochlea. Sound is processed through the delicate cells that sit on tiny hairs in the inner ear. Once these cells are destroyed, they do not regenerate.
Gout is a common form of arthritis in the elderly caused by excessive formation of uric acid crystals in the joints of the hands and feet. It is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints. Severe bouts of gout involve the excessive formation of urate crystals and there is continuing research on the effects of urate crystals forming in the inner ear.
For some reason gout attacks usually occur at night and the inflammation and pain can last from eight to 12 hours. The symptoms usually ease after a few days and go away in a week to 10 days. Some people never have a second attack, but an estimated 60% of people who have one attack will likely experience a second attack within a year and 84% may have another attack within the next three years.
Gout occurs in about 4% of American adults – about 6 million men and about 2 million women. If a family member has gout, you are more likely to develop it.
For this study, researchers analyzed the data of more than 1.7 million adults in the United States. The data was gathered from random samplings of Medicare records of adults 65 and older during a six-year period. The rate of hearing loss for patients with gout was compared to the rate of hearing loss for patients who did not suffer from gout.
Hearing Loss More Prevalent With Gout
The complete data field included 89,409 new cases of reported hearing loss. Vital statistics of those reporting the hearing loss was that they tended to be white, older and had another medical condition that did not include hearing loss.
Researchers found that participants with gout had a higher incidence of hearing loss. Gout was associated with a 44% increase in the likelihood of a patient developing hearing loss. The data was adjusted for demographics, other medical conditions and medications commonly used for cardiovascular disease and gout.
While the exact link has yet to be pinpointed, researchers speculated that inflammation and oxidative stress may play a role in hearing loss.
A similar study was conducted earlier in Korea and elevated levels of the compounds found in urate crystals were found in adults 40 years and older who were experiencing the onset of hearing loss.
Researchers said they hoped the preliminary findings will encourage medical care providers to suggest hearing exams for those who are being treated for gout.
Get a hearing test as part of your health regime
Although hearing loss may be a natural part of aging, there is not reason not to have it treated and corrected. If you have experienced gout attacks, it is more important than ever to get a hearing test and establish a baseline. If you experience a second gout attack, get another hearing test at Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center and we can compare the second test to the first to insure you are not experiencing hearing loss because of gout and if you are – we can help you with a treatment plan for your hearing loss.