In most situations, hearing loss is caused by damage to the nerves in your inner ear. If these nerves start to weaken, then it’ll negatively affect your ability to hear. In order to protect our ears, we use earmuffs, earplugs and other forms of protection to ensure that we aren’t exposed to loud sounds. However, there are other causes of hearing loss that might not be as obvious or well-known. So, in this post, we’re going to cover some of the more surprising causes of hearing loss.

1. High Cholesterol Levels

Having high cholesterol levels is linked with damaged arteries. This raises the risk of having a heart attack or heart disease. Studies have also suggested that these high cholesterol levels are associated with hearing loss. Studies have shown that there is a small but statistically significant link between people with high cholesterol levels and hearing problems.

However, it’s worth mentioning that this includes extremely high levels, bordering on abnormal, which is usually not the case for most people.

2. High Blood Pressure

According to research in 2013 by the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, there is a link between high blood pressure and hearing loss. The study looked at 284 people between the ages of 45 and 64 with hearing loss. 18% of those participants with normal blood pressure only had mild hearing loss. However, 34% of those with mild high blood pressure had a similar level of hearing loss.

Over 54% of people in the study with elevated blood pressure had some form of hearing loss. From these results, researchers suggested that high blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels in the inner ear. While this happens over a long period of time, it can start to cause hearing problems in older people.

3. Diabetes

Those with diabetes are usually twice as likely to develop hearing loss compared to people that do not have the condition. These statistics are according to the American Diabetes Association which keeps track of health data in patients with diabetes. Chronic elevated levels of high blood sugar are known to cause damage to blood vessels which is why researchers speculate that it could lead to permanent damage to the many tiny capillaries that supply blood to the inner ear.

4. Weight

A high body mass index (BMI) can be related to hearing loss. Researchers examined data from over 64,000 women and those with a BMI between 30 and 34 had a 17% higher risk of having hearing loss compared to those with a BMI under 25. Women with a BMI of 40 or larger who were considered obese had a 25% greater risk of hearing loss. A waist circumference of 35 inches or more also indicated that there was an increased likelihood of hearing loss.

5. Smoking

Research has shown that those who smoke are at an increased risk of high and low-frequency hearing loss in both men and women. Smokers were around 15% more likely to develop hearing loss than non-smokers, and those exposed to passive smoke were around 28% more likely to have hearing problems compared to nonsmokers. Puffing smoke also had a negative impact on hearing.

6. Medication

Some forms of medication can potentially damage hearing. Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications could potentially cause temporary hearing loss. However, these effects typically go away once you stop taking the medication.

7. Heavy-Metal Contaminants

Low levels of lead in drinking water could potentially be a risk factor for age-related hearing loss. Some studies have linked heavy metals to hearing loss, and these are the same compounds that are found in cigarette smoke and air pollution which can cause hearing loss.

8. Pressure Changes

A sudden change in pressure could damage your hearing temporarily. It’s far less common for it to permanently damage your hearing, but it could still be an issue if the change is very abrupt and quick. In most cases, you shouldn’t worry about pressure changes affecting your hearing loss.

9. Sinus Infections

If you’re suffering from an allergy or head cold, then there’s a chance that you might experience a mild amount of hearing loss. This is usually caused by a buildup of pus or mucus behind the eardrum that can cause temporary hearing loss, earache or even a fever.

If you’d like to learn more about hearing loss then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 800-273-9536. Speak to us today and our expert audiologists at Adirondack Audiology be happy to help.

Tags: causes of hearing loss, hearing loss basics