A Link Between Gout & Hearing Loss

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Ear Health, Hearing Loss

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA
Latest posts by Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA (see all)

As we get older, some common health problems can come about. We know that the aging process is related to limitations in vision, hearing, and mobility. Many people see an increase in aches and pains, and the joints can suffer from gout and other forms of arthritis. With these health concerns happening all at once, it’s hard to tell if any of them are related. Possibly we simply see these different effects happening at the same time, but it’s also possible that some health concerns are connected with others. If we were to address one of these health problems, it might set off a chain reaction of relief from the others, as well. Although gout and hearing loss are both common among aging populations, a recent study suggests there might be a direct relationship between them. As researchers continue to explore this connection, they can give us a better sense about what is to be done about these common conditions.

 

The Study

A recent study considered the role and likelihood of gout in aging populations. Gout is the most common form of arthritis in this population, caused by the excess formation of uric acid crystals in the joints of the hands and feet. With a huge data set compiling information in the Medicare records of 1.71 million adults over the age of 65, these researchers were able to make some strong claims. They chose the 6-year span from 2006 to 2012 to see how many new cases of hearing loss occurred. They found that within those 89,409 people who developed a new diagnosis of hearing loss during that period, many of them had gout, as well. As we know, both gout and hearing loss are very common in the cohort of people over age 65, so they needed to employ some sophisticated statistical methods to determine if those with gout had a higher likelihood of hearing loss than their counterparts who did not have gout. The general finding was that the relationship was quite significant. Those who had gout were at roughly 44 percent higher risk of hearing loss than those without gout, even when controlling for other factors.

 

The Interpretation

 

With this statistical finding in mind, experts are curious to understand more about the connection between these two conditions within the body. Is one of these causing the other? Is there a third factor that is causing both gout and hearing loss? Without biometrics or other physical data, the researchers are left to speculate about the connection. They imagine that inflammation and oxidative stress may play a role in both gout and hearing loss. These tend to lead to a host of physical health issues in aging populations, and they wonder if this interconnection explains why those with gout are more likely to have hearing loss.

 

The Prevention

Is there something you can do to prevent gout and hearing loss? The first step is to work with your primary care physician to get a holistic assessment of your health. Diagnosing underlying conditions is the first step toward building a health plan to address your needs. Many experts point to diet as a way to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. When you eat foods that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, you can see an improvement in many aspects of physical health. Doctors and nutritionists point to the Mediterranean Diet as a way to build healthy habits and to enjoy delicious food at the same time. This diet is high in fiber and micronutrients while remaining low in saturated fats and processed food. The Mediterranean Diet includes lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and unsaturated fats, such as olive oil. It is low in red meat, sugars, saturated fats, and highly processed junk food. Those who adopt this diet have had good results in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, and they tend to have better heart health and other positive health outcomes.

If you are concerned about gout and hearing loss, this diet is a good preventative measure, but you can work with your doctor to address any other underlying health issues to consider. Preventative health care is essential to your future well-being, including reducing your risk of gout and hearing loss.