Diseases & Medical Conditions That Can Cause Hearing Loss
Most people assume hearing loss only happens to the elderly or people who have prolonged exposure to loud noise, but in some cases, hearing loss can actually be caused by a health disorder, disease or some other medical condition.
Here are several common diseases and medical conditions that cause hearing loss:
Your heart helps your hearing, and when it starts to slow down, it can affect your ears. Poor blood flow restricts the amount of oxygen to your inner ear, which can cause partial or full hearing loss. Other things like high blood pressure, hypercoagulability, and polycythemia can also impact your ability to hear.
Abnormal Cholesterol Levels
Like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol can damage arteries, raising the risk of heart disease and stroke. Some studies suggest abnormal cholesterol levels may also increase the risk of hearing loss.
It takes a pretty serious infection to cause sudden hearing loss, but it is possible. Patients with meningitis, tuberculosis, or a bacterial or fungal infection of the brain and spinal cord are susceptible to hearing loss. Another cause that’s prevalent especially in the summer time is Lyme disease. This tick-borne disease has been known to cause both hearing loss and tinnitus.
Ménière’s disease, a disorder of the fluids in the inner ear, is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. This disease typically affects only one ear in individuals between ages 20 and 50. Other issues known to affect hearing include hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), kidney disease medications, Paget’s disease, and autoimmune inner ear disease, which results in sudden onset hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be congenital (present at birth) and is known to be related to more than 400 genetic conditions. Your genetic makeup may also make you more susceptible to hearing loss later in life. Some serious genetic disorders, such as Waardenburg syndrome, cause the head and internal organs to develop differently, which may result in hearing loss. Other conditions, like otosclerosis can affect the bones in the middle ear that conduct sound to the cochlea. Not all of these conditions are correctable with surgery.
The higher your body mass index (BMI) and the bigger you are around the waist, the greater your risk of hearing loss, according to a 2013 report in the American Journal of Medicine.
Tumors and Cancer
You probably aren’t surprised in finding out that cancers of the head, neck, or ear areas can affect the inner ear sometimes causing a hearing impairment, but but did you know the treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can also hearing loss.
People with diabetes are at twice the risk of developing hearing loss than people who don’t have the condition, according to the American Diabetes Association. Chronic elevated levels of blood sugar are known to damage blood vessels, and researchers have speculated that over time, high blood sugar levels may permanently damage tiny capillaries that supply blood to the inner ear.
Take control of your health today!
Hearing loss can be a sign of a much bigger health issue, so don’t ignore it if you have hearing health concerns. If you or a loved one have trouble hearing and would like to get your hearing tested, contact us today to schedule an appointment at a Hearing Aid Counselors hearing center near you. Our staff of experienced hearing care professional are here to help you address all your hearing concerns.