More than 48 million Americans experience hearing loss, and for most of those individuals their hearing loss was caused by exposure to loud noises or the natural aging process. But some may have other diseases or disorders to blame for this loss.
Below is a breakdown of common health conditions that can cause hearing loss.
Congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease and high blood pressure all fall under the category of heart disease. Each affects your body’s ability to pump blood. Poor blood flow can lead to a number of health concerns, including hearing loss.
Inside your inner ear are tiny, delicate hair cells. They are responsible for translating soundwaves into electrical signals, which are sent via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. The hair cells require good blood flow in order to work properly. If deprived for long enough, the hair cells can die, resulting in permanent hearing loss.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in your joints, leading to damage in your bones, cartilage and surrounding tissue. This includes the tiny bones and cartilage within your inner ear.
While the connection between hearing loss and rheumatoid arthritis is not fully understood, numerous studies have shown they are related. One goes so far as to estimate that 75 percent of those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis will also develop hearing loss.
Diabetes is a disease that affects your ability to process blood glucose, which leads to high levels of blood sugar. There are more than 30 million American adults with diabetes.
This disease can damage the blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear. When the hair cells in the inner ear do not get enough blood, they can die. This connection makes sense, as those with diabetes are twice as likely to develop hearing loss as those without the disease.
You should pay extra attention to your hearing health If you have been diagnosed with any of the above-mentioned disorders. One way to monitor your hearing health is to complete a baseline hearing assessment. Your audiologist at Wilmington Audiology will keep these results on file and can compare them to any future hearing exam. This will ensure any small changes are identified, even if they are unnoticeable to you.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact your hearing professional at Wilmington Audiology today.