Women with osteoporosis have an increased risk of hearing loss, a new study has suggested.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital discovered that the risk of moderate or severe hearing loss was up to 40 per cent higher in those with osteoporosis or low bone density (LBD).
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle, and develops over several years.
The team of experts analysed data from almost 144,000 women over the course of 34 years, and found that the risk of hearing loss was 40 per cent higher in women with the brittle bone conditions, compared to those who did not suffer from them.
They found that osteoporosis sufferers who have a history of vertebral fracture also had a 40 per cent higher risk of hearing loss, compared to those who have only suffered hip fractures after being diagnosed with the condition.
"The differing findings between these skeletal sites may reflect differences in the composition and metabolism of the bones in the spine and in the hip," study leader Sharon Curhan explained.
"These findings could provide new insight into the changes in the bone that surrounds the middle and inner ear that may contribute to hearing loss," she added.
The researchers suggested that hearing loss could be caused by abnormal bone remodelling due to the condition, and that could subsequently affect the nerves and structures in the cochlea.
Curhan wants to conduct more research into the findings, to investigate what, if any, effect calcium and vitamin D can have on the hearing of osteoporosis sufferers.
"Osteoporosis and low bone density may be important contributors to ageing-related hearing loss," she stated. "Building lifelong healthy diet and lifestyle habits could provide important benefits for protecting bone and hearing health in the future."