Can you prevent hearing loss? While it has been well established that most hearing loss is either age related or caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise, there are cases of hearing loss caused by health issues such as hypertension or diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at these health-related causes of hearing loss and how you can combat them.
High Blood Pressure and Hearing Loss
There have been many scientific students that investigate the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss. A 2013 study using human subjects found that there is an association between hearing loss and hypertension—between 36% and 55% of subjects with varying degrees of hypertension suffered from mild hearing loss, compared to 18% of subjects without hypertension. The study cited several different reasons for this connection: high blood pressure can cause inner ear hemorrhages and cellular-level changes, two factors that have the ability to lead to sudden hearing loss. Another study, published in 2010, looked at the link between hearing loss and metabolic disorders. The results of the study indicated that hyperglycemia and thyroid disorders were more than twice as frequent in patients with sudden deafness than in the general population.
Hearing Loss and Diabetes
Diabetes and hearing loss are two of the country’s most prevalent health concerns, and there is mounting evidence that there is a large overlap between Americans with diabetes and Americans with hearing loss. According to the American Diabetes Association, hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as those without, and the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher in adults with prediabetes. Diabetes causes a host of cardiovascular issues, including high cholesterol, hypertension, and stroke. Studies have also found that there is a stronger link between diabetes and hearing impairment in younger people than older people with diabetes. The associations between diabetes and hearing loss are still being investigated, but it is clear that people with diabetes suffer hearing loss at a higher rate than people without diabetes.
Health and Hearing: How Can I Protect Them?
While there is still much to learn about the hearing-related effects of health issues, the link appears to be strongest with cardiovascular health. There are many ways to keep your cardiovascular system healthy—regular exercise and eating well are the two biggest factors. Obesity is a huge health problem in the US, and leads to a long list of unhappy side effects like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Unhealthy habits such as eating poorly, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, and tobacco use are all risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. It is up to you to preserve your health and hearing by avoiding unhealthy practices and leading a health-conscious lifestyle!
By Elena McPhillips