An iron deficiency can affect the body in many ways, including your ability to hear. Hearing loss develops when damage occurs to the blood vessels in the ear. The damage affects the cell’s ability to transport oxygen to vital areas, including the ears. Anemia, which is a product of iron deficiency, places people at risk for such a scenario.
Iron Deficiency And Anemia
Your auditory system needs a sufficient amount of iron to function properly. A deficiency of iron causes anemia, which is a lack of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The oxygen is necessary for the health of the sensory hair cells involved in translating sound into electrical impulses. When the hair cells die, they are no longer able to transmit the impulses to the brain for interpretation. This process can lead to tinnitus as well as hearing loss.
The Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
Inadequate iron intake, pregnancy, internal bleeding, endometriosis, and an inability to absorb iron can lead to an iron deficiency. The symptoms of iron deficiency appear mild at first. You may experience fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, tongue swelling, headaches, irregular heartbeat, and cold extremities.
Who Is At Risk?
Most people with anemia resulting from low iron have no symptoms. Chronic low iron, however, can cause symptoms. Anyone can develop an iron deficiency, but the condition is more common in women during childbearing years due to blood loss during menstruation. Any changes in the blood during pregnancy can also cause anemia. For older adults, blood loss is a common cause, usually due to gastrointestinal problems. Sickle cell anemia can cause hearing loss, but iron supplements are not recommended for it as it can be harmful.
Not Getting Enough Iron?
For the majority of otherwise healthy people, eating a balanced diet will provide the body with an adequate supply of iron. Foods abundant in iron include red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, dark leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and pasta. If you are uncertain if you are getting enough iron, try the following:
Add more iron-rich foods into your diet, such as red meat, fish, and eggs.
Integrate more vitamin C into your diet as it will help you absorb iron.
Remember that folic acid can help to prevent iron deficiency. You can add folic acid to your diet by including leafy green vegetables such as spinach.
Protect Your Hearing
It is crucial to protect your hearing even if you are getting enough iron. You can take care of your hearing in the following ways:
Wear earplugs when exposed to constant loud noise.
Take breaks after exposing your ears to loud noises.
Keep volumes at safe levels when listening to music through headphones.
Avoid cleaning ears with cotton swabs as these can push wax further into your ear, causing infection and possible damage to your eardrum.
Be sure to have your hearing tested by a hearing healthcare professional. A hearing healthcare professional can diagnose your hearing problem and prescribe treatment.