You probably know what the common causes of hearing loss are. Loud noises, earwax build-up, aging and severe illness are all commonly-known causes of hearing loss. There are some lesser-known causes of hearing loss you may not know about, however. Here are a few.
Everyone knows that stress is bad for health, but we have discovered it is also bad for hearing. Studies have even shown a connection between stress and sudden hearing loss. Physical illness such as high blood pressure, heart disease and other problems can contribute to this cycle, and those all affect inner ear blood flow, which affects hearing. Hearing loss can also cause stress, which perpetuates the cycle.
If you are overweight, you know that it can cause a host of health problems and disease. Now you can add hearing loss to that list. Studies have shown a solid link between waist circumference and hearing loss. The exact reasons are not yet known, but researchers speculate that increased weight puts strain on capillaries that give cells oxygen. The inner ear cells contain capillaries that are easily damaged, which contributes to hearing loss. And once these inner ear cells die there is no way to revive them and reverse the hearing damage.
Obesity and resulting hearing loss can affect people of any age, but the good news is the damage can be stopped by taking control of your health. Even minimal exercise, like walking around the neighborhood once or twice per day, can have huge benefits for your health and your weight. It has been shown that women who walk at least two hours over the course of each week were able to lower hearing loss risk by 15 percent over those who walked less than an hour per week.
Antibiotics can be used to save lives, and should definitely be used in those cases, but in cases of less severe illness, it may be important to weigh the risks with the benefits. Antibiotics have long been known to cause both temporary and permanent ototoxicity, or medication-induced hearing loss.
The main class of antibiotics that are ototoxic, aminoglycosides, are restricted to cases of life-threatening illness where other antibiotics are not effective. In these cases, of course saving a person’s life is more important than saving their hearing, but in less dangerous cases the risks must be weighed.
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Diabetics are twice as likely to have hearing loss as non-diabetics. Pre-diabetics are also at risk: they have been found to be 30% more susceptible to hearing loss than non-diabetics.
The exact link is not well-understood, but researchers believe that blood glucose levels can damage the small capillaries in the inner ear, causing hearing loss. If you have diabetes or even pre-diabetes, regular hearing checks are vital to monitoring hearing health.
Proper blood flow to the sensitive capillaries of the inner ear is vital to hearing health, and changes in blood flow and blood pressure can affect hearing. This link is so strong that doctors recognize that good hearing health can also be a sign of good cardiovascular health. The opposite is also true: hearing loss can be a sign of impending heart disease as well.
Since hearing loss has become a possible indicator of heart disease, it is important to monitor your hearing health carefully. The best way to do that is to get regular hearing screenings so any change can be detected as early as possible.
Los Gatos Audiology is here to help you protect your hearing health. Call today and come in for your yearly hearing exam so you can stay ahead of the curve and protect your hearing, your brain and your health.
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