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Hearing Loss and Chronic Disease

The statistics tell us that there is an overwhelming amount of Americans dealing with hearing loss, and while it may not seem so grave, hearing loss has actually been found to coexist with other serious health problems. Studies demonstrate that a link may exist between hearing loss and chronic health issues as they show that people with heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease may all have an increased risk of hearing loss.

The American Heart Association states that hearing loss and heart disease are related because they found that hearing loss actually occurs 54% more often in people with heart disease than in the general population.  That’s not all; the National Institutes of Health also have to say that hearing loss is twice as common in adults with diabetes than those who do not have diabetes. Yet another study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases found that older adults with moderate chronic kidney disease are more likely to have hearing loss than adults of the same age group that do not have moderate kidney disease. Additionally, more research posted in the Archives of Neurology found that there is prevalence of hearing loss among people with Alzheimer’s disease as opposed to their cohorts without Alzheimer’s. In fact, the researchers discovered that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s increased with hearing loss – specifically, with every 10 decibels of hearing loss, that risk increases by 20%. The same report concludes that older adults with hearing loss appear more likely to develop dementia, and their risk increases as hearing loss becomes more severe.

All of these links found between hearing loss and chronic diseases can be alarming but is mangeable and at the very least, can be alleviated. Sergei Kochkin, PhD, the executive director of Better Hearing Institute says:  “With so much evidence emerging on the potential link between hearing loss and various chronic illnesses, it becomes all the more pressing for people to identify and address hearing loss early on. Talk to your doctor. Get your hearing checked. And be assured that in most cases, today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids, programmed to the specific hearing requirements of the individual, can help people hear better and thereby regain quality of life.”

In order to keep your hearing healthy, take a look at some of our suggestions and follow Dr. Kochkin’s advice by having regular hearing checks and look into hearing aid options if they are recommended. Those who do use hearing aids are found to have greater overall heath, a more  active lifestyle and social life leading to happier living.

by Esther Shasho

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