More than 1.5 billion people (nearly 20% of the global population) live with hearing loss. Common factors that can increase your risk of hearing loss include aging, loud noise exposure, viral illnesses, genetics and more. New research indicates that vitamin D deficiency could be another risk factor for developing hearing loss.
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, both of which are critical in healthy bone growth and strength. Many of the body’s organs and tissues have receptors for vitamin D, suggesting that it plays a vital role beyond supporting healthy bones.
Our bodies produce vitamin D by absorbing direct sunlight, but you can also find it in certain foods, including:
- Fatty fish
- Vitamin D-fortified milk, juice and cereal
- Egg yolk
How Does Vitamin D Contribute to Hearing Loss?
A 2022 study analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2001-2006, 2009-2012), including 3,489 participants aged 50 and over, found a significant association between those with vitamin D deficiencies and sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), the type of hearing loss associated with the inner ear.
The 2022 study was further supported by a 2023 study that found that vitamin D deficiency was higher in those with SSNHL than those without. The study was able to positively identify a connection between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk for SSNHL.
What Can You Do?
If you’re concerned that a vitamin D deficiency will adversely impact your hearing, speak to your provider about your options. They may recommend taking a vitamin D supplement in addition to eating vitamin D-rich foods. Always discuss supplements with your provider to avoid taking more than the recommended dose.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of hearing loss is another great way to monitor your hearing health. Some common symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Trouble hearing children or others with high-pitched voices
- Needing to turn the TV or radio up louder than is comfortable for others
- Trouble following conversations with multiple people
- Misunderstanding words or phrases
If you notice that hearing the new fall drink specials at Quills Coffee has become more difficult, schedule a hearing test immediately. If hearing loss has occurred, your provider may recommend hearing aids to help amplify speech sounds and reduce background noise for clear communication.
For more information on treating your hearing loss, contact Heuser Hearing Institute today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.