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Low Bone Density Could Contribute to Hearing Loss

Osteoporosis and low bone density (LBD) contribute to age-related hearing loss, according to a study published online May 24 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Sharon G. Curhan, M.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal cohort study involving 60,821 and 83,078 women in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II), respectively. The correlations of osteoporosis and LBD, bisphosphonate use, vertebral fracture (VF), hip fracture (HF), and risk for self-reported moderate or worse hearing loss were investigated.

The researchers found that in both cohorts, women with osteoporosis or LBD had higher multivariable-adjusted relative risk (MVRR) of moderate or worse hearing loss. The MVRR was 1.14 for women with osteoporosis versus those without in NHS and was 1.30 among women with osteoporosis/LBD in NHS II. Women who did versus those who did not use bisphosphonates had a similar magnitude of elevated risk. VF correlated with elevated risk (NHS and NHS II, 1.31 and 1.39, respectively), whereas there was no increased risk seen for HF. Among the 3,749 participants with audiometric measurements, the mean multivariable-adjusted hearing thresholds were higher (i.e., worse) for women with osteoporosis/LBD who used bisphosphonates compared with those without osteoporosis/LBD.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first large longitudinal study to evaluate the relations of bone density, bisphosphonate use, fractures, and risk of hearing loss," the authors write.

Article originally appeared on HealthDay