Hearing loss is very common. We are familiar with the common causes of Hearing Loss. Old age and exposure to loud sound are the 2 most common causes of Sensorineural Hearing loss. Our blog Common Hearing Loss Cause and Symptoms explains some of the other causes. To most of us, it may come as a big surprise but there are many other causes. Some diseases which are not related to the ear can also cause Hearing loss.
Let us read about the diseases which can cause Hearing loss. We have shortlisted 7 diseases which are not rare.
- Heart Disease
- Thyroid Disease
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
1. Can Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?
It is scientifically proven that Diabetes does play a role in Hearing Loss. The chances of Hearing loss are 50% higher in people suffering from Diabetes. People with diabetes normally suffer from Sensorineural Hearing loss. Pre Diabetics have a 30% higher chance of suffering from Sensorineural Hearing loss. Pre Diabetics are people who do not suffer from diabetes but are on the borderline.
The Connection between Hearing Loss and Diabetes
Research has established a connection between Diabetes and Sensorineural Hearing loss. Chronic Hyperglycaemia or continuous high levels of blood glucose is the primary reason. High levels of blood glucose cause Microangiopathy. Microangiopathy causes the very tiny blood vessels to break. It also results in thickening of the wall in some blood vessels. This restricts the blood flow to the parts connected by these tiny blood vessels or arteries. Our ear is one such organ which is fed by small blood vessels. The restricted blood supply damages the delicate Hair cells causing Sensorineural Hearing loss. This is similar to how Diabetes affects the kidneys and the eyes.
2. Can Heart Disease Cause Hearing Loss?
There is a very strong link between Heart disease and Hearing loss. There are 54% higher cases of Sensorineural Hearing loss in people suffering from Heart diseases.
The Connection between Hearing Loss and Heart Disease
The Cochlea in the Inner ear contains the delicate hair cells which enable us to hear. The Cochlea gets oxygen rich blood through tiny blood vessels to keep it healthy. People suffering from Heart disease have reduced pumping action. The heart does not have the strength or needs to work harder to pump blood. If the pumping action is not enough, the Cochlea connected by tiny blood vessels does not get enough blood. This results in damage to the Hair cells which causes Sensorineural Hearing loss.
3. Can Thyroid Disease Cause Hearing Loss?
The Thyroid gland in our body produces hormones. These hormones are responsible for metabolism and other body functions. In case of a Thyroid disease, there is a reduction in the production of hormones. The reduced production of Hormones is medically known Hypothyroidism. The thyroid secretes a hormone known as Thyroxine. Thyroxine is responsible for the development of the Cochlea.
The Connection between Hearing Loss and Thyroid Disease
Thyroxine helps in maintaining the Cochlea during the development stage and much after. In an experiment, 30 subjects suffering from Hypothyroidism underwent Thyroxine treatment. At the end of 6 months, there was a 48% improvement in hearing confirmed by the pre and post treatment Audiograms. Thyroxine also helps in protecting against Noise Induced Hearing loss. Hypothyroidism (reduced production of hormones), as well as Hyperthyroidism (excessive production of hormones) cause Sensorineural Hearing loss
A healthy diet is important for people suffering from thyroid disease. Iodine, Vitamin A and D and minerals like Selenium and Iron help to maintain a healthy Thyroid. Read about the wonder foods which contain these and include them in your diet.
4. Can Chronic Kidney Disease Cause Hearing Loss?
It is well established that Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD causes Sensorineural Hearing loss. A study found a 54% higher chance of Hearing loss in people suffering from CKD. The reason is that the Kidneys are very similar to our Inner ear in terms of structure and functions.
The Connection between Hearing Loss and Chronic Kidney Disease
The Kidneys clean up the toxins in the body. Toxins collect in the body if the Kidneys are not functioning normally. These toxins damage the sensitive nerves in the Inner ear. The tissue structure in the Kidneys is similar to the inner ear. The elements damaging to the Kidney tissue also cause damage to the ear tissue. Electrolyte disturbance is also a cause of Sensorineural Hearing loss. Certain medicines used for the treatment of CKD are harmful or Ototoxic to the ear.
5. Can Influenza Cause Hearing Loss?
Seeing people sniffling and sneezing during winters is a common sight. Neglecting the early signs can see some come down with severe influenza. Influenza, commonly known as flu can also cause hearing loss. Flu, after all, is a virus which affects the sinuses and the ears. In a majority of the cases, flu causes Conductive Hearing loss which is reversible. Hearing loss can become permanent if proper and timely treatment is not taken.
The Connection between Hearing Loss and Influenza
The early signs of flu are running nose, headaches, sore throat, coughing and fever. Flu causes congestion and build-up of fluids in the Middle ear and the Eustachian tube. There is a drop in the hearing ability and a feeling of blocked ear. The congestion in the middle ear does not allow the sound waves to reach the inner ear. Proper treatment can clear the infection and restore hearing. This temporary hearing loss is also known as Conductive Hearing loss.
There are cases where the infection is very severe and affects the inner parts of the ear. The delicate nerves can get affected by the infection. The damage to the nerves causes Sensorineural Hearing loss. This type of loss is permanent in nature. You need to see your doctor if the hearing ability is not normal within a day or two of the flu being cured. You can follow the precautions mentioned in the blog on How to prevent ear Infections.
6. Can Hypertension Cause Hearing Loss?
Hypertension or high Blood pressure does cause Hearing loss. As the blood pressure rises, the hearing ability goes down. Hearing loss speeds up or increases in cases of chronic high blood pressure. Experiments have shown that bringing down blood pressure improves hearing ability.
The Connection between Hearing Loss and Hypertension
The connection is very easy to understand. The high blood pressure puts additional pressure on the walls of the vessels carrying blood. This additional pressure damages the blood carrying vessels or the arteries. Small arteries supply fresh oxygenated blood to the delicate part of our ears. Damage to these arteries can cause a reduction of blood supply which causes Sensorineural Hearing loss. It is important to de-stress to keep the blood pressure under control. Read about the ways to destress to avoid stress related hearing loss.
7. Can Obesity Cause Hearing Loss?
Though awareness about a healthy lifestyle is spreading, Obesity still remains a major problem. The current lifestyle is the main cause of Obesity. Though remote control, Apps, automation and fast foods has made life easy, it has also reduced our physical activity. Obesity is a sign of poor health and can cause Hearing loss.
The Connection between Hearing Loss and Obesity
Obesity does not directly affect Hearing loss, but it can certainly increase the chances of Hearing loss. The heart pumps blood to each and every organ in the body. Blood reaches our inner ear through small arteries and capillaries. In an obese person, the heart has to pump harder to deliver blood to the smallest of the organ. Over a period of time, the heart finds it difficult to pump blood. There is a gradual reduction of blood supply to the smaller organs. In this case, the reduced blood supply to the inner ear causes the hair cells to die. This reduces the total number of active hair cells and causes Sensorineural Hearing loss.
Obesity is responsible for Heart disease and diabetes which further damage the hearing.
A healthy lifestyle is very important. Do find time to take care of your body.