Gout is a painful form of chronic, inflammatory arthritis that can affect people of all ages. People with gout can experience sudden and debilitating attacks of pain, swelling, and tenderness in their joints—especially the joint at the base of the big toe. The symptoms of gout frequently occur at night, and the pain of the affected joint can be so severe as to wake you up in the middle of the night. The joint where the gout is located will feel hot, swollen and so tender that any weight or pressure upon it can be virtually intolerable. New research that suggests that there are links between this arthritic condition and hearing loss. Read on to learn more.
A Connection between Gout and Hearing Loss
A new study published in BMJ Open has found that people who are 65 and older and who have gout are 44 percent likelier to develop hearing loss than older people who do not have gout. The researchers suggest gout and hearing loss “share similar pathological processes.” The researchers came to their conclusions after studying a sample of Medicare claims filed between the years of 2006 and 2012, paying particular attention to what is called incident hearing loss (new hearing loss), which they identified by the presence of at least 2 claims at least 4 weeks apart with an International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, with no respective claim in the baseline 1-year observation period.
The researchers found that 89,409 people developed incident hearing impairment, among the 1.71 million people who were eligible. The crude incidence rates of incident hearing impairment in people with versus without gout were 16.9 vs 8.7 per 1,000 person-years. While the researchers found a connection between people with gout and hearing loss, it does not mean that the links are necessarily direct or causal. There are some limitations to the study, in other words. The study was conducted with a large sample size, but it is limited by issues such as misclassification bias, unmeasured variables, and lack of laboratory markers for inflammation or oxidative stress that might aid in the identification of pathogenetic mechanisms.
Hearing Loss & Your Health
There is ongoing research into the relationships between hearing loss and other physical and cognitive issues. This is an important sign that it is important to attend to your hearing health. There are many signs you may be experiencing hearing loss, and they can include:
- Ringing, clicking, whistling, or buzzing in your ears
- Preferring to hear out of one ear over the other
- Difficulty following conversation with individuals and/or groups of people
- Regularly asking people to repeat themselves
- Playing your TV or your headphones at excessively high volumes
- Ability to hear someone you are having a conversation with, but difficulty making out the distinct words they are saying
Healthy Hearing Habits
While hearing loss is not a direct indicator of other health issues such as gout, remaining attentive to your hearing health, your body’s physical health, and your mental health will ensure a well-rounded existence. It is important to develop healthier hearing habits that will protect your current hearing abilities. There are many things that you can do to protect your hearing. One of the easiest things you can do is to buy earplugs that you can have handy when you find yourself in loud spaces such as music venues, sports arenas, or even unsuspecting spaces like movie theaters. Low-cost, reusable earplugs are easy to keep in hand places such as your car, at work, or in jacket pockets. There are also higher-cost, custom-made earplugs that your audiologist can fit you with. You can also of course simply cover your ears should you be exposed to sudden loud noises, as happens when police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks pass by.
Visit Us at Exceptional Hearing Care
Do you experience gout? Are you concerned about your hearing abilities? Be sure to schedule annual hearing tests for yourself. At Exceptional Hearing Care, we provide comprehensive hearing tests that determine whether a hearing loss is present. If you have a hearing loss, we’ll work with you to find the best pair of hearing aids to help you remain connected to all of your wireless devices while remaining discrete.