Located below the rib cage, on each side of your spine, kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist. They remove wastes, extra fluids and acids from your body, while helping to maintain ideal balances of water, salts and minerals in your blood. Without this continuous cleansing process, nerves, muscles and other tissues may not function normally, leading to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
Reputable data indicates CKD, also called chronic renal disease, affects 1 in 7 Americans, approximately 37 million people, noting these remarkable estimates:
- 90% are unaware, with early stage disease typically having few symptoms
- 1 in 3 people with Diabetes will develop
- 1 in 5 people with high blood pressure (hypertension) will develop 1
As with most chronic medical conditions, increased awareness should encourage preventative efforts. Case in point, while many people track weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, few know their kidney numbers. The essential message is, when approximately 1 in 7 Americans have CKD, sooner awareness can lead to personalized treatment plans which promote better outcomes.
Most people may not have any severe symptoms until kidney disease advances. However, they may notice having:
- less energy
- trouble concentrating
- a poor appetite
- trouble sleeping
- muscle cramping at night
- swollen feet and ankles
- need to urinate more often, especially at night.
Realizing healthy kidney function is essential to our body’s filtration system, many are surprised to discover how it may relate to hearing function by disrupting auditory capabilities of your inner ear’s miniscule cochlea. Chronic kidney disease also increases heart and blood vessel disease risks. These problems may gradually worsen over a long timeframe and if kidneys do not effectively remove impurities or toxins from bloodstreams, then sensorineural hearing loss is more likely to occur, with estimates ranging from 36% to 77%. 2
As peer-reviewed research states:
“We recommend that screening the hearing of patients with CKD to provide earlier identification of hearing impairment and earlier intervention, thereby preventing progression of hearing impairment and providing appropriate treatment strategies.” 3
Realizing daily struggles associated with having CKD or associated caregiving, effective communication abilities are crucial. Importantly, those not hearing their best may become socially isolated in stressful ways being mentally or physically detrimental.
Now that you know, who do you know?
Do you have chronic kidney disease or know anyone who should be tested? Please see us or encourage them to get periodic evaluations to accurately assess type and degree of hearing loss. In close coordination with other medical specialists such as nephrologists (kidney doctors), we will suggest healthy options to improve your quality of life and awareness of hearing related CKD risk factors.
2 Gupta S, Curhan SG, Cruickshanks KJ, Klein BEK, Klein R, Curhan GC. Chronic kidney disease and the risk of
incident hearing loss. Laryngoscope. 2020 Apr;130(4):E213-E219. doi: 10.1002/lary.28088. Epub 2019 May 28.
PMID: 31135964; PMCID: PMC6881518.
3 Seo YJ, Ko SB, Ha TH, Gong TH, Bong JP, Park DJ, Park SY. Association of hearing impairment with chronic
kidney disease: a cross-sectional study of the Korean general population. BMC Nephrol. 2015 Sep 16;16:154. doi:
10.1186/s12882-015-0151-0. PMID: 26377178; PMCID: PMC4574145.