Women who take the most common form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) experience a hearing loss of 10 to 30 percent more than those who do not.
A study of 124 women showed that age-related hearing loss is accelerated for those whose HRT includes progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone.
Women who took progestin had the hearing loss usual for women up to a decade older.
The study compared the hearing of three groups of women aged 60 to 86. 30 had taken a form of HRT that included only estrogen; 32 had taken both estrogen and progestin; and 62 had never been on HRT. Each of the women was given a variety of hearing tests.
In all the tests, women whose HRT included progestin (the most common form) had worse hearing. Tests showed that women who took progestin had problems both in the inner ear and in the portions of the brain used for hearing.
The researchers have plans to study women who have gone off HRT, to see if the hearing loss might be reversible, and they say that women on the birth control pill, which includes progesterone, should also be studied.
Unless you had your head buried under the sand for the last few years, you should be aware that excess estrogen is one of the main causes of breast cancer.
The key here is excess.
Women do need estrogen. The problem is that most western women have excessive amounts. Many women also have total hysterectomies in which their ovaries are removed. This is one of the few times where estrogen replacement therapy is appropriate.
Additionally, taking synthetic hormone replacement therapy was the rage for many years but that seems to have normalized after all the major studies demonstrated major increases in heart disease and stroke, not the protection that they had been promoted for.
Other risks of non bio-identical HRT found by past studies include:
Synthetic progestins like Provera are responsible for many of the side effects and should rarely be used by any woman. I am sure there are some indications to use it, but I can't think of any. Even natural estrogen can increase your risk of breast cancer and heart disease if not properly taken.
Premarin, which comes from horse estrogens, used to be a common form of estrogen replacement, but the evidence is quite clear that it should be avoided.
One option that seems to work the best for women who truly do need treatment is a transdermal preparation of human estrogen. Application through the skin allows lower doses than oral and also decreases the production of potentially dangerous estrogen metabolites.
Most women, however, only need estradiol, which is bioidentical to the primary human female hormone. What the FDA and most doctors and patients do not realize is that bioidentical hormone supplements can actually optimize your health. Ideally these levels should be monitored by either blood, urine or serum so they reach a target level that correspond to the reference ranges for healthy young women.
Additionally, I am convinced that women should not take DHEA (a steroid-like supplement version of a naturally occurring hormone that is often promoted as an anti-aging solution) unless they are also using bioidentical estrogen and progesterone therapy.
What will really help more than anything else is lifestyle changes:
Making these simple lifestyle changes are a lot safer than following some of the common treatment protocols practiced in the field of conventional medicine.