23Nov2017

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What is the link between fibromyalgia and hearing loss?

Posted on Nov 23, 2017

Factors such as overexposure to loud noises, obesity and ageing are just some of the scientifically proven causes that can increase an individual's risk of hearing loss. In Australia alone, one in six people lives with some form of auditory deprivation1.

And it seems that a recent study has unearthed a further factor which can increase the risk – fibromyalgia.

Are you experiencing excruciating muscle pain? Are you experiencing excruciating muscle pain?

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a type of musculoskeletal condition – the most common after osteoarthritis. As with any type of syndrome, there are many symptoms which contribute to form the specific disorder or disease. Those with fibromyalgia may often experience a mix of, or all of the following symptoms:

  • Widespread muscle pain and tenderness without cause
  • Intense fatigue
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Chronic headaches
  • Stiffness

How common is fibromyalgia?

On a global scale, fibromyalgia syndrome affects 3-6 per cent of the entire world population3. In Australia, as many as one in twenty live with the condition4.

3-6 per cent of the world's population live with fibromyalgia, with 75-90 per cent of those being women!

Interestingly, of those with the syndrome, 75-90 per cent are women, with females ten times more likely to contract the condition than males3. Another surprising figure has recently emerged surrounding the topic, revealing that those with fibromyalgia are 4.5 times more likely to experience hearing loss5. Below, we explore further.

How was this discovered?

With evidence already suggesting that an individual with fibromyalgia experiences high levels of pain due to irregular sensory processing in the central nervous system, researchers were intrigued to see the correlation between the syndrome and hearing capabilities.

Analysing over 44,000 participants from the second health survey in Nord-Trøndelag (HUNT2), researchers studied those with fibromyalgia, those who had other musculoskeletal pain and those who had neither, and compared their pain levels with subjective hearing loss. The main statistic gleaned was that those with fibromyalgia were 4.5 times more likely to report subjective hearing loss than those who didn't. It was also discovered that people with other musculoskeletal pain were 1.8 times more likely5.

These results prove and support theories that fibromyalgia can be linked to an irregular central nervous system and its sensory functions such as hearing.

To find out more about your own hearing abilities, contact the team at HEARINGlife on 1800 030 502 to book a no cost* assessment today.

1Hearnet, The Facts On Hearing Loss. Accessed August 2017
2My Body and Soul, The facts about fibromyalgia. Accessed August, 2017
3NFMCPA, Prevalence. Accessed August 2017
4Body and Soul, The facts about fibromyalgia. Accessed August 2017
5BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, Are persons with fibromyalgia or other musculoskeletal pain more likely to report hearing loss? A HUNT study. Accessed August 2017

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