Hearing Loss from Metal on Metal Hip Replacements
Is Your Hearing Loss Because of a Metal on Metal Hip Replacement?
Long-term exposure to high cobalt and chromium metal levels causes hearing loss and other auditory problems. Patients with metal on metal hip replacements could be at higher risk for hearing problems.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss from Metal Poisoning
If you experience any of the following symptoms in one or both ears, your metal on metal hip implant may be the cause:
- Inability to hear higher-pitched sounds. For example, you may have difficulty understanding or hearing words with “S,” “H,” and “F” sounds.
- Difficulty understanding female voices more than male voices.
- Difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments
- Ringing in ears
- Trouble with balance. Hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear, which is also responsible for balance. If your inner ear is damaged enough, you may notice problems with your balance.
- General ability to understand speech slowly getting worse
What is a “Systemic Effect” from Metal on Metal Hip Poisoning?
A systemic effect of metal on metal hips describes health problems that affect the entire body, instead of only the hip joint. Systemic injuries can happen when the microscopic metal ions flake off in the hip area and travel in the bloodstream to the rest of your body. That’s how a metal on metal hip can trigger metal poisoning reactions such as hearing loss.
Making a Legal Case for Metal on Metal Hip Replacements and Hearing Loss
As attorneys litigating these cases, we strongly suspect hearing loss can be caused by the toxic heavy metals released from these hip implants. There is growing scientific and medical research pointing to this.
However, because the science connecting “systemic effects” to metal on metal hips is still fairly new, our ability to make these arguments in court is difficult.
We do find that hip replacement patients with systemic injuries, like hearing loss, often have physical damage to their hip joint and surrounding muscle. That physical damage can go undetected for years with no symptoms like pain or swelling in the hip area.
Sometimes the first symptom of a metal on metal hip problem is a reaction in distant parts of the body.
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Diagnosing Hearing Loss from a Metal on Metal Hip Implant
If you have a metal on metal hip replacement and are having any type of hearing issues, tell your doctor immediately and ask for a hearing exam. Your doctor should also test your blood for cobalt and chromium levels to see if they’re above the safe levels.
Important note: hearing loss is a common and natural effect of aging, especially among men. For that reason, your doctor may have attributed your hearing loss to aging. However, if you have a hip implant and are showing any other symptoms of Metallosis from metal on metal hip replacements, your doctor should test your metal ion levels and monitor your health closely.
Is Hearing Loss Due to Metallosis Curable?
Revision surgery on your implant should decrease the metal ions in your blood. When the metal ion levels go back down to normal, your hearing may improve or even return to normal. However, if you wait too long to receive treatment, you may not be able to reverse the hearing loss.
Types of Hearing Loss Caused by Metal Poisoning from a Hip Implant
If you and your doctor find that you’re experiencing any of the following conditions in one or both ears, your metal on metal hip replacement may be the cause:
- High-frequency hearing loss or trouble hearing high-pitched sounds
- Tinnitus: ringing in the ears
- Sensorineural hearing loss. This is hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve from the ear to the brain