Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, memory issues and mood problems. In many cases, these symptoms begin following a triggering event, such physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological distress. In other cases, symptoms develop gradually with no apparent trigger. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are medications and lifestyle modifications that can help manage symptoms.
In addition to tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, fibromyalgia is also associated with hearing loss. We review the link below.
What Does the Research Show?
One study published in the journal PLOS One in 2020 sought to examine whether patients with fibromyalgia have an increased risk of hearing loss compared to those without.
To do this, the researchers used Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database to compare information from two cohorts. The first cohort had new-onset fibromyalgia between 2000 and 2002, and the second cohort did not have fibromyalgia but was age- and sex-matched to the first group. All participants were followed from three months after their diagnosis until death, withdrawal, hearing loss development or the date Dec. 31, 2013.
The results indicated that the overall risk of hearing loss in the group with fibromyalgia group was 1.46-fold higher than in the group without the condition, after adjusting for age, sex and comorbidities.
The researchers explained, “Our findings support the notion that [fibromyalgia] influences [hearing loss] and is in line with the hypothesis that the [fibromyalgia] mechanism is related to a central nervous system abnormality in sensory processing.”
If You’ve Been Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia…
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it’s important to schedule a baseline hearing test with an audiologist right away, then continue to get hearing screenings on a regular basis. If you find that you can’t hear your conversation partner at The Lakehouse anymore, it may be time to seek treatment.
You can manage your fibromyalgia symptoms by:
- Taking medications such as pain relivers, antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs.
- Undergoing therapy, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and counseling.
- Making lifestyle changes, such as practicing stress management, good sleep hygiene, regular exercise and eating healthy foods.
- Trying alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, massage, yoga and tai chi.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Hill Country Audiology today.