What Causes Hearing Loss
A lot of people ask us " What causes hearing loss ?" and we respond "Life!" in a light hearted manner. No one lives in a bubble and even if they did they would still have hearing loss after certain amount of years most likely.
The fact is that there are a ton of causes of hearing loss that are normal and there are some causes of hearing loss that might be a red flag for another issue.
In general theory, any disease or condition that can affect your nerves, blood vessels, bones, or muscles can also affect your hearing. The reason for this is because your hearing system uses all four of those ingredients to some degree. It's not necessarily common that someone with Multiple Sclerosis has hearing loss (muscle disease) or someone with Osteoporosis(bone condition) will have hearing loss, but it's certainly a factor that won't help.
Here are some health concerns that might have a connection with hearing loss and if you have any of them you might want to get checked out by a hearing health care provider for more information.
Patients who have cardiovascular disease (CVD) are over 50% more likely to have some sort of impaired cochlear function than those with out CVD. In addition to the disease itself, the medication taken for these health issues can also affect the patients hearing. If you notice a sudden drop in hearing ability after switching the dosage or type of medication, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a hearing evaluation at a hearing health care provider and continue getting tested once every three months for about twelve months total. This way you can accurately track your hearing loss changes
With over 23 million people in the US with diabetes and over 70 million pre-diabetics, diabetes is a huge health concern for the younger population with the chance to take preventative care of themselves. Since patients with diabetes are more than twice as likely to have hearing loss than those without, monitoring your health and hearing can be extremely important.
With a large work force exposed to hazardous noise levels and/or harmful environmental agents that can cause hearing loss (roughly 39 million combined), hearing loss is the second most self-reported occupational illness or injury reported. There have been many laws passed to try to help this issue, but the reality is that there are still a lot of workers that don't wear proper hearing protection for the noise level they work in. These issues can be compounded by years of labor in a noisy environment.
We all know smoking is bad for us so we will keep this short, if you smoke you are more than twice as likely to test with hearing loss as non-smokers and the odds get worse based on how long and how much you've smoked. The stats are almost the same with non-smokers who live with smokers compared to other non-smokers.
Age Related Hearing Loss
Even though aging is not a medical condition, the effects of aging can be linked to hearing loss. As we all know, your body starts to breakdown little at a time after the age of 35 or so. When you get into your sixties roughly 30% of people will experience some sort of hearing loss (from mild to profound). As you get older the problem can compound to 75% of people over the age of 85 will have some sort of hearing loss. You should start getting hearing tests around the age of sixty or when you feel like there has been a change in your hearing health.
This article is not meant to be a scare tactic, it's simply meant to inform you that hearing loss is inter-connected to a lot of different systems in the body that most people don't consider. The bottom line is having healthy hearing means a better quality of life, in all senses of the fraise!
*This blog entry is not meant to be medical advice. If you are having any sort of health concern you should consult your health care provider first
Cruickshanks et al., JAMA, June 3, 1998 - Vol 279 No. 21 Cigarette Smoking and Hearing Loss
Bainbridge, et al., Annals of Internal Medicine, June 17, 2008 (online)
Kochkin, S. MarkeTrak VII: Hearing Loss Population Tops 31 Million People, The Hearing Review, Vol. 12(7) July 2005, pp 16-29