Hearing Loss and Menopause!
Written by: Kelsey Keimig
My name is Kelsey and I am the newest member of the Hearing Partners of South Florida team. I am doing my clinical residency with the clinic till June of 2018 when I will graduate with my Doctor of Audiology degree.
Today’s post is for the women… I’m always told being a woman is such a blessing and I have and will get to experience so many joy’s that come with being one. Being a woman may be a joy, but it is not easy. It takes skill, strength, and experience to be able to balance family, work, relationships, and anything else we have going on in our lives. Then you add hormones into the mix and well, we’re practically superheroes. We tend to crave chocolate, ice cream or both and minute things can send us into an emotional overload. As we age, we do a better job of managing ourselves, emotions, and lives. We do so well and then surprise! Menopause comes along and changes everything. Now women get to experience a decrease in hormones, changes in mood, hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms you weren’t expecting. One symptom we don’t commonly think of that may come with menopause is hearing loss.
It is known that estrogen declines after menopause. It is also commonly known that hearing loss is associated with aging. For some women, hearing can decline substantially following menopause. Aren’t we lucky! Research has shown that there are estrogen receptors in the fluid-filled cavity deep in the ear. For the hearing system to function properly, the fluid-filled cavity must maintain its proper chemical balance. What does this mean? Essentially, the ecosystem of the inner ear, must remain balanced in-order to function and transmit sound to the brain. How is this related to menopause? The reduction in estrogen, which deprives the receptors in the ear changes the chemical composition balance â€“ the ecosystem of the ear has changed reducing the functionality of this system. The result is hearing loss. Researchers have suggested that hearing may be normal or if a hearing loss is present the decline is gradual prior to menopause. Hearing ability can then rapidly decline during menopause.
Every woman is different. Some may not develop any hearing loss, but others may. Currently, there are no identifiable predictors to determine if a woman will develop hearing loss due to menopause or not. Where do I leave you?… While we are not able to reverse hearing loss or prevent it from happening, it can be beneficial to proactively manage your hearing. There is no harm in establishing a baseline of your hearing ability. After that baseline test, annual or biannual hearing tests hence forth monitor your hearing status. This means if a decline is occurring we can tell how much and how fast it is occurring.
Welcome to womanhood.
Svedbrant, J., Bark, R., Hultcrantz, M., & Hederstierna, C. (2015). Hearing decline in menopausal women â€“ a 10-year follow-up. Acta Oto-Laryngologica, 135, 807-813.