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Posted on Monday, June 25, 2012

Hormone Deficit Linked to Hearing Loss

Couple dancing happy they have plenty of aldosterone.

Researchers have linked a hormone called aldosterone to the quality of people's hearing as they age. This hormone plays crucial roles within the body. It regulates kidney function and is key for signaling two essential chemicals in the nervous system, potassium and sodium. According to recent studies, the more aldosterone hormone a person has in their bloodstream, the better their hearing and the less of the hormone, the worse their hearing.

47 People studied with age related hearing loss had fifty percent less aldosterone than is considered normal.

People with Meniere's disease and presbycusis, age related hearing loss, may be helped by taking aldosterone to balance potassium levels in the inner ear. This is also true of people with diabetes. The slowing of blood flow in diabetics means fewer nutrients to the ear which can lead to atrophy and destruction of the auditory hair cells. For these groups, higher levels of potassium are crucial in the sensitive inner ear, where fluid rich in potassium plays a central role in converting sounds into signals that the nervous system recognizes.

Restoring levels of this hormone may help Meniere's, because it has been shown to improve balance and relieve dizzy spells as well as improve hearing.

Aldosterone may also play a part in treating other types of hearing loss, like hearing loss due to autoimmune disease and sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). Sudden sensorieneural hearing loss (SSHL) is an unexpected loss of most or all hearing in one or both ears occurring within 3 days or less. Sudden hearing loss is considered an emergency, and those experiencing it need to call an audiologist immediately. It is important to note, SSHL is a quick and vicious loss of hearing that has few known causes and often has no pain whatsoever.

In the past, SSHL and hearing loss due to autoimmune diseases were treated with steroids.

Now the National Library of Medicine reporting on a study done at Oregon Hearing Research Center states, “Aldosterone therapy may offer advantages over prednisone for long-term management of not only autoimmune hearing loss, but also other forms of nonimmune-related deafness for which steroids are currently prescribed.”

It’s important that people with these types of hearing loss are made aware of the newest help out there for their conditions. According to the Washington Post's article on SSHL, “patients suffer permanent deafness as a result of delays in diagnosis and treatment." So spread the word! And visit your hearing health specialist to find out about this and other treatments for these types of hearing loss.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References:

Trune DR, Kempton JD, Kessi M. Aldosterone (mineralocorticoid) equivalent to prednisolone (glucocorticoid) in reversing hearing loss in MRL/MpJ-Fas1pr autoimmune mice. Oregon Hearing Research Center, Department of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201-3998, USA. Taken on November 2, 2011 from Aldosterone (mineralocorticoid) equivalent to p... [Laryngoscope. 2000] - PubMed - NCBI

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