The Relationship Between Iron Deficiency Anemia and Sensorineural Hearing Loss in the Pediatric and Adolescent Population

Kathleen M Schieffer, James R Connor, James A Pawelczyk, Deepa L Sekhar
American Journal of Audiology 2017 June 13, 26 (2): 155-162

Purpose: A correlation between iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) was described in adults. In this study, we examined if there is a relationship between IDA and hearing loss in the pediatric population.

Method: This was a retrospective cohort study of data collected from the Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside database from 2011 to 2016. Children and adolescents 4-21 years old seen at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA, were examined for hearing loss and IDA status. Hearing loss was determined by International Classification of Disease-9 and -10 codes, and IDA was determined by both low hemoglobin and serum ferritin levels for age and sex.

Results: We identified 20,113 patients. Prevalence of hearing loss and IDA was 1.7% and 2.3%, respectively. The prevalence of all hearing loss was 3.0% in the IDA cohort and 1.7% in those without IDA. Children and adolescents with IDA are at increased odds of developing SNHL (adjusted odds ratio: 3.67, 95% CI [1.60-7.30]).

Conclusions: Children with IDA demonstrate increased likelihood of SNHL. Although correction of IDA in those with hearing loss has yet to be linked to improvements in hearing outcomes, screening for and correcting IDA among pediatric patients will positively affect overall health status.

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