8 Alarming Conditions That Can Cause Hearing Loss
In honor of World Health Day , it is a good time to talk about health conditions that can cause hearing loss. Now causation and correlation are different but each of these conditions below has studies to back up a strong link with hearing loss that I believe merits the spotlight. I love to look on the bright side and focus on the positive, but today I’m going to take the opportunity to ring the alarm bells for these possible contributors to hearing loss.
If you have any of the below conditions and have not had your hearing checked, I strongly recommend a checkup. Even if you do not recognize any hearing issues now, it will give us a baseline to compare to future tests. It’s also an encouragement to take care of your overall health and reduce these risk factor that can cause hearing loss.
Conditions that are linked to or can cause hearing loss:
- Cardiovascular disease can cause hardening of the arteries which effects circulation and can therefore cause hearing loss. A Harvard University study found that hearing loss occurred 54% more often in those with hearing loss. Strokes can also cause sudden hearing loss as that restriction of blood flow can harm the delicate hair cells that depend on the blood stream to provide adequate oxygen to keep them healthy and active.
- Diabetes is one of America’s top health concerns and shares a surprising amount of overlap with another top concern, hearing loss. A recent study found that hearing loss is twice as common in diabetics.
- Smoking cigarettes is a known risk factor for hearing loss. In fact, smokers have a 70% greater likelihood of hearing loss than their non-smoking counterparts.
- Anemia is a deficiency of iron in the bloodstream which relates to our first point about cardiovascular health. Those with anemia have a 2.4 times greater risk of both sensorineural hearing loss and a combined sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
- Falls and head trauma should always be followed up with a hearing exam to be sure no temporary or permanent damage was done to the ears. On the flipside, a Johns Hopkins study found that those with even a mild, untreated hearing loss, are three times more likely to fall than those with hearing within the normal range.
- Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disorder that has been linked to progressive hearing loss. Many people who are diagnosed with UC may also have an underlying secondary disease known as autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED). AIED can lead to rapidly progressing hearing loss, fluctuations in hearing, tinnitus, and dizziness.
- Chemotherapy is known to be ototoxic (toxic to the ears), so frequent monitoring of hearing is important for individuals being treated by chemotherapy. A good rule of thumb is to have your hearing screened after every chemotherapy session.
- Meniere’s Disease includes the trifecta of tinnitus (which we treat as well), vertigo and fluctuating hearing loss. Monitoring the loss as it fluctuates and using hearing aids that are capable of being adjusted at home are essential to managing the condition.
Did you know that these common health issues could cause hearing loss? You know these days your primary care physician is wearing so many hats and is so pressed for time that they may have never mentioned these links to you. With healthcare getting more and more disjointed, you may need to do your own research and raise your own alarm. Raise the concern the next time you see them, and go ahead and schedule your own hearing screening to get your baseline done. Our hearing screenings are free at Levine Hearing so nothing is holding you back! Thanks for listening!
6 thoughts on “8 Alarming Conditions That Can Cause Hearing Loss”
This was very interesting– I had NO idea so many ailments or physical issues could be at play with hearing loss.. Thanks for pointing this out and teaching us!
Thanks for reading, Amy!
…and of course old age and living/working in high decibel conditions can cause or contribute hearing loss. Construction sites, warehouses, factories, shooting ranges, war zones etc. While ear muffs and plugs have been and should be used, there are electronic noise suppressors. I wonder even though some of the damage has been done, do any of the modern hearing aids come nise suppression?
You are so right, Dennis. Loud noise exposure is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, I just focused on health conditions this week. Yes, hearing aids have compression built in so that they won’t make the loudest sounds in your environment even louder. There is a maximum power output (MPO), that we can adjust to ensure we don’t cause further damage to the ear and that we keep each patient’s comfort level for loud noises in mind.
Thank you for being there even during the “pandemic” tough times – you met me at the office when we needed you and took care of my needs!
William (Bud) Long
I’m so glad I was able to help you, Bud!