Medical Conditions Related to Hearing Loss
Heart Disease / Circulatory Problems
Hearing loss may be associated with heart disease in older adults. According to a Wisconsin University study, the prevalence of suffering from various degrees of hearing loss is 54 percent greater among those who have a history of heart disease than in the general population. In addition, hearing loss appeared in almost 80 percent of the people who had suffered from a myocardial infarction (heart attack).
The study also indicated that individuals who exercised at least once a week saw a 32 percent reduction in risk of suffering from hearing loss, when compared to sedentary people.
Tips to help manage blood pressure and improve circulation:
- Get your blood pressure checked. If it is high, get your doctors help to control it.
- Decrease your intake of salt. Salt impairs blood circulation.
- Exercise daily to improve your circulation.
- Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
Source: "The Association Between Cardiovascular Disease and Cochlear Function in Older Adults." Population Health Program Faculty, Wisconsin University, First Annual Population Health Poster Session selected abstracts 2001-2002.
Hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Yet hearing screenings typically are not part of the regular regimen of care that people with diabetes are routinely recommended to receive.
The NIH-funded study found a strong and consistent link between hearing impairment and diabetes. The link between diabetes and hearing loss was evident across all frequencies, with a stronger association in the high frequency range. And an association between diabetes and hearing impairment was evident as early as ages 30 to 40.
Adults with pre-diabetes, whose blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis, had a 30 percent higher rate of hearing loss compared to those with normal blood sugar tested after an overnight fast.
Diabetes may lead to hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear, the study researchers suggest. Autopsy studies of diabetes patients have shown evidence of such damage.
Ototoxic drugs, which are medications that are toxic to the ear, have the potential to cause permanent or temporary hearing loss. Approximately 200 prescription and over-the-counter drugs are recognized as ototoxic. A hearing loss caused by ototoxic medications initially affects high- frequencies above 9,000 Hz. The most ototoxic of these drugs are aminoglycoride antibiotics and select chemotherapy medications. Many other medications have ototoxic effects, as well as some vapors and solvents.
It is important to discuss the possibility of ototoxicity with any prescription medication you are taking with your physician and/or pharmacist. Hearing can be tested before, during and after treatment to monitor hearing function.
Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Ménière’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear. Although the cause is unknown, it probably results from an abnormality in the fluids of the inner ear. Ménière’s disease is one of the most common causes of dizziness originating in the inner ear. In most cases, only one ear is involved, but both ears may be affected in about 15 percent of patients. Ménière’s disease typically starts between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Men and women are equally affected.
Ménière’s disease symptoms include episodes of vertigo (attacks of a spinning sensation), fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus (a roaring, buzzing, or ringing sound in the ear), and a sensation of fullness in the affected ear. If you are experiencing the symptoms of Ménière’s disease, your physician may request a balance test called Videonystagmograph.