A Link Between Gout & Hearing Loss

A Link Between Gout & Hearing Loss

In hearing health, hearing loss by Laurie Duffy, M.S.

Researchers are constantly uncovering more proof that our diet can affect our physical and mental health. Now a recent study has found that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of gout, a frequently occurring form of arthritis and while simultaneously protecting your hearing.

What is Gout?

Affecting 4% of Americans, and 20% of those whose parents had it. Men are at a higher risk, while gout does not affect the majority of women until menopause. The peak age of those who suffer gout attacks is 75. 

Gout is a form of arthritis that causes sudden, severe attacks of pain, tenderness and inflammation in some joints. One of the oldest medical afflictions on record, dating back to 2640 BCE in Ancient Egypt, gout has appeared internationally throughout history. Often affecting one joint at a time it commonly starts in the big toe but can affect most external joints, including wrist, hand elbow, or knee ankle or foot joints. 

What Causes Gout?

Gout manifests when the body processes uric acid abnormally, causing a build up of crystallization at the site affected by the gout. The crystals can build up in the soft tissue of joints causing pain, lumps called tophi or kidney stones. Monosodium urate is formed naturally from uric acid, due to a degrading of genetic material in cells like DNA and RNA. 

Ways To Lower Your Risk of Gout

Some foods, mostly red meat, organ meat and fish, as well as alcohol, contain large amounts of uric acid which put you at a higher risk for gout. People who consume large amounts of beer and liquor or have a diet that centralizes red meat and fish are at the highest risk for developing gout. 

However a diet low in animal protein, rich in vegetables and fruits can lower your risk significantly by lowering the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Even so this condition can be hereditary or also affected by diuretics. Because your kidney processes uric acid, your kidney health is important in how and when gout can attack. 

To help protect your kidneys, avoid high amounts of alcohol, stay hydrated, keep your weight down and monitor your blood pressure. Anti-inflammatory diets like the Alternate Mediterranean Diet (AMED) and Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH) can reduce your risk of gout by prioritizing fruits and vegetables while minimizing meats in your diet. This diet is also used to protect from hearing loss.

Does Gout Cause Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss affects 1 in 3 seniors over the age of 65 and half of those over 75. Because the inner ear relies on a healthy supply of blood some common causes of hearing loss include hypertension, which is also an issue which can increase the likeness of contracting gout. 

A 2018 study collected data on 1.71 million adults using US Medicare records for patients 65 and older over a six year period with gout. The study compared instances of patients with gout and healthy hearing at the beginning of the study with developed hearing loss by the end of the study period and found 89,409 new cases of hearing loss. 

The researchers noted that they corrected for demographics, drug prescriptions and comorbidities and found an increase of hearing loss with patients who had gout by 44%. 

What is Hyperuricemia?

Hyperuricemia is an elevated level of uric acid levels in the body. People who have gout all have hyperuricemia making it a probable symptom to predict the development of gout. About 21% of the American population has hyperuricemia, while only 4% have gout. The researchers concluded, “Future studies should explore whether hyperuricemia, or inflammation, or oxidative stress play a role in this association, and whether treatments that target these pathways can reduce the role of hearing loss in elderly with gout.”

What you can do

To keep your risk of gout and hearing loss down, make sure to keep a healthy diet and what your blood pressure. If you are dealing with hearing loss we can help. Contact us today to find out how we can help keep you hearing healthy for longer.