When two medical conditions occur at the same time, they are said to be comorbidities. Hearing loss has many comorbidities, including anxiety, depression, heart disease and dementia. Another comorbidity of hearing loss you may not expect is fibromyalgia. We review the connection below.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is characterized by symptoms such as musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep problems, memory issues and moodiness. While in many cases these symptoms begin after a triggering event, like physical trauma or psychological distress, in other cases, they come on gradually with no apparent trigger.
Experts theorize fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations because it impacts the way the brain and spinal cord process signals.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia; however, there are many medications and lifestyle changes that can make it manageable.
How Are Fibromyalgia & Hearing Loss Linked?
A study published in the journal PLOS One in 2020 aimed to uncover whether patients with fibromyalgia have an increased risk of developing hearing loss compared to those without.
To do this, researchers examined data from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database and compiled information from two cohorts: one with new-onset fibromyalgia between 2000 and 2002, and one that was age- and sex-matched to this group but did not have fibromyalgia.
The participants were followed from three months after their fibromyalgia diagnosis until death, withdrawal, hearing loss development or the date Dec. 31, 2013.
The researchers found that the overall risk of hearing loss in the group with fibromyalgia was 1.46-fold higher than the group without fibromyalgia, after adjusting for age, sex and comorbidities.
If You’ve Been Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia…
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you should schedule a baseline hearing test promptly. You and your audiologist at Torrance Audiology will be able to compare future tests to this to monitor for changes in your hearing.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Torrance Audiology today.