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What Diseases Cause Hearing Loss?

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Hearing loss can happen for a number of reasons. For some people, it’s genetic and present at birth. For others, it results from being around loud noises, or because of the natural aging process. While those are among the most common causes, hearing loss can also develop as a side effect of certain diseases. What are these diseases, and how can they cause hearing loss?

Heart disease

High blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease are all different types of heart disease. Each condition makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood throughout the body. This poor blood flow can also affect your hearing.

The link to hearing loss: The tiny hair cells in your inner ear that pick up sound rely on a steady supply of blood to function properly. When heart disease limits blood flow to these sensitive cells, they can become damaged and limit your ability to hear.

Diabetes

About 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, which results when your blood sugar level is too high. But did you know that such patients are twice as likely to have hearing loss compared to those without diabetes?

The link to hearing loss: Researchers believe that the disease damages the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear. Just like with heart disease, when those fragile cells are damaged, hearing loss can result.

Rheumatoid arthritis

A type of autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in your joints. Overtime, it can damage cartilage, bones, and surrounding tissue. It’s estimated that about 75 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis also develop hearing loss.

The link to hearing loss: The reason so many people with rheumatoid arthritis also have hearing loss remains undetermined. For some, the swelling caused by the disease affects the cartilage and tiny bones in the ears, resulting in difficulty hearing. Also, common treatments like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can cause hearing loss as a side effect.

Influenza

Known as “the flu” for short, influenza is common during the colder months of the year. While its symptoms include fever, fatigue, and achy muscles, it can also lead to both temporary and permanent hearing loss.

The link to hearing loss: When you have the flu, you often feel like your ears are clogged. This is caused by a buildup of fluid in the tubes in your middle ear, which goes away when your body recovers. In some instances, the flu virus can affect the hearing organs in your ear directly. If not treated promptly, hearing loss can be permanent.

Meningitis

Though it comes in different forms, such as viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic, meningitis is typically an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The disease can be life-threatening if not treated right away, but patients often survive when it’s caught early enough.

The link to hearing loss: One of main side effects of meningitis, especially among children, is hearing loss. That’s because the inflammation can affect the nerves that run between your ears and brain. Though hearing loss caused by meningitis can be reversed in some instances, about 10 percent of children have permanent hearing loss after recovering from the disease.

Treating hearing loss

If you currently have any of these diseases known to cause hearing loss, or have in the past, consider getting your hearing checked. We can evaluate your hearing loss and guide you on your journey to better hearing.  Contact us at 281-361-4327.

Adapted from Signia

 


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