a sickled shape are more likely to become clogged decreasing volume of blood flow.
Dr. Nelson conducted a systematic review of the literature on sickle cell and associated hearing loss to find that anywhere from 21-66% (average 37%) of people living with sickle cell also suffer from some level of hearing loss of difficulty at some point. Further investigation revealed that the majority of patient reported that hearing loss fluctuated and had a close association to flare-ups of sickle cell crisis.
Because the inner ear is home to both our hearing and balance systems, they are directly related in terms of function and volume of blood flow. Not surprisingly, up to 67% of patients with sickle cell disease report experiencing dizziness and imbalance in and out of a crisis.
Also closely associated with the volume of blood flow to the inner ear, dizziness, and hearing is the prevalence of falls within the sickle cell community. It is estimated that 20% of adults over the age of 65 fall annually, according to Dr. Nelson younger adults suffering from sickle cell anemia fall at a rate even higher than those over the age of 65.
However, sickle cell is not the only process or disorder that can affect balance and falls. It is important to note that blindness, numbness of the feet and ankles, hip, knee or ankle surgery/replacements and stroke may all affect balance and rate of falls independent of sickle cell anemia.
The most common causes of damage to the inner ear, home to the hearing and balance systems, include a lack of oxygen due to the decreased carrying capacity of sickled red blood cells. The sickling of the cells can lead to