Research has demonstrated that there may be a link between hearing loss and several common chronic illnesses.
Four Diseases Linked To Hearing Loss
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD). A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases found that moderate CKD was associated with a higher risk of hearing loss. This is because kidney problems cause toxins to accumulate in the body and these toxins may harm your hearing. Additionally, some medications that are prescribed for people with CKD can damage the ears and cause hearing loss, as well as tinnitus and balance issues.
- Heart disease. Heart disease can disrupt blood flow to the inner ear, which damages the hair cells located there. These cells play a crucial role in the hearing process. Once damaged, they cannot be repaired, and it can lead to permanent hearing loss.
- Diabetes. Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as those who are the same age without diabetes. While the exact cause is not known, it’s thought to happen because uncontrolled diabetes can cause nerve damage all throughout your body, including your ears. This nerve damage can affect your ability to hear.
- Dementia. While these first three illnesses seemed to increase the risk of developing hearing loss, with dementia, it appears to be the other way around. Studies have shown that hearing loss increases your risk of developing dementia and that the risk becomes greater the more severe the hearing loss is.
Protect Your Hearing by Prioritizing Your Health
For some of these chronic illnesses, there are factors, such as genetics, that are simply out of your control. However, living a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of developing several of these conditions. Not only will these help your overall health, but they may protect your hearing as well. Steps you can take include:
- Eating a diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods
- Getting regular exercise by walking around your neighborhood or taking a fitness class at Mission Valley YMCA
- Have regular checkups with your medical provider
- Take any medication as prescribed to manage chronic conditions
Treat Your Hearing Loss
You can also help lessen your risk of dementia and other health risks associated with untreated hearing loss by scheduling a hearing test and finding appropriate treatment. Hearing aids are the most common treatment option. You and your audiologist will work together to find a pair that not only meets your hearing needs but fits with your lifestyle and individual preferences as well.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call San Diego ENT today.