Studies show that you are twice as likely to have hearing loss if you have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. This statistic is surprising for those who picture hearing loss as a problem associated with growing old or noise damage. Nearly 500,000 of the1.9 million people diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 were below the age of 44. Evidence shows that 250,000 of those younger people with the disease probably have some form on hearing loss.
A person’s hearing can be damaged by quite a few diseases besides diabetes. Getting old is a significant factor both in illness and loss of hearing but what is the relationship between these conditions and ear health? These conditions that cause loss of hearing should be taken into consideration.
What the connection is between diabetes and hearing loss is not clear but clinical research appears to indicate there is one. A condition that indicates a person may develop type 2 diabetes, called prediabetes, causes people to lose their hearing 30 percent faster than people who don’t have it.
While there are some theories, scientists still don’t understand why this happens. It is feasible that high glucose levels might cause damage to the blood vessels that feed the inner ear. That’s a realistic assumption since diabetes is known to influence circulation.
Hearing loss is a symptom of this infectious disease. Because of infection, the membranes that cover the spine and brain swell up and that defines meningitis. Studies show that 30 percent of people will lose their hearing in part or in full if they get this condition. This infection is the second most common reason for hearing loss among the American youth.
The fragile nerves that send signals to the inner ear are potentially injured by meningitis. The brain has no method to interpret sound if it doesn’t get these signals.
Ailments that affect the heart or blood vessels are covered under the umbrella term “cardiovascular disease”. This category contains these well-known diseases:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Peripheral artery disease
- High blood pressure
Normally, cardiovascular diseases tend to be associated with age-related hearing loss. Injury can easily happen to the inner ear. When there is an alteration of the blood flow, it might not get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to thrive, and damage to the inner ear then leads to hearing loss.
Chronic Kidney Disease
A 2012 study published in The Laryngoscope found that people have an increased risk of losing their hearing if they have this condition. A separate study found that chance to be as high as 43 percent. However, this connection could be a coincidence. There are lots of the same risk factors with kidney disease and other conditions associated with high blood pressure.
Toxins that accumulate in the blood as a result of kidney failure may also be responsible, theoretically. The connection that the nerves have with the brain could be closed off because of damage to the ear by these toxins.
Dementia and hearing loss have a two way effect on each other. There is the indication that cognitive impairment increases a person’s chances of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia occurs due to brain atrophy and shrinkage. Trouble hearing can accelerate that process.
It also works the other way around. A person who has dementia even though there is normal hearing will show a decline in their hearing as injury to the brain increases.
Mumps is a viral infection that can cause children to lose their hearing when they’re very young. The reduction in hearing may be only on one side or it might affect both ears. The reason this occurs is the virus damages the cochlea in the inner ear. It’s the component of the ear that sends messages to the brain. The good thing is mumps is pretty scarce nowadays due to vaccinations. Not everyone who gets the mumps will experience hearing loss.
Chronic Ear Infections
Treatment gets rid of the random ear infection so it’s not much of a risk for most people. For some, though, repeated infections can wear out the tiny components that are needed for hearing such as the eardrum or the small bones in the middle ear. This kind of hearing loss is called conductive, and it means that sound cannot get to the inner ear with enough force, so no signals are sent to the brain. Infections can also cause a sensorineural hearing loss, which means nerve damage.
Many of the diseases that can cause hearing loss can be avoided by prevention. Throughout your life protecting your hearing will be achievable if you exercise regularly, get the right amount of sleep, and have a healthy diet. You should also get regular hearing exams to make sure your ears stay healthy.