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5 Risk Factors For Hearing Loss In Adults
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5 Risk Factors For Hearing Loss In Adults

Published On: 17th February 2019
Last Updated On: 18th February 2019

5 Risk Factors For Hearing Loss In Adults

Hearing loss is one of the most prevailing ailments in the United States. Roughly 25% of people in the United States between the ages of 55 and 64 suffer from hearing loss, with hearing loss being almost 1 in 2 for those older than 65.

Although hearing loss may be an unfortunate inevitability as we age, there can be other factors that can contribute greatly to the loss of one’s hearing. It is important to be aware of these risk factors, especially as we age, so that we can maintain our hearing for as long as possible.

After all, our ability to hear is one of our most precious commodities, and every effort should be made to protect it.

Diabetes

Diabetes, as well as hearing loss, are two of America’s leading health concerns. Roughly 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, with an estimated 34.5 million people suffering from some form of hearing loss.

A recent study determined that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease. Of the 84 million adults in the U.S. who have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood glucose.

Although there is still research to be done to fully realize the causal link between hearing loss and diabetes, the prevailing theory is that the high glucose levels in the blood can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss.

old man wearing hear aid

Obesity

According to the CDC, research conducted between 2011-2014 determined that one third of all the adults in the United States are obese. Studies have shown that as we become overweight, our risk of developing hearing loss can greatly increase.

One of the primary components of our auditory system are the hair cells responsible for detecting sound, translating it into electrical signals and transmitting it to the brain. A healthy blood flow and oxygen contribute to the health of these cells, and if we’re obese, a huge strain is put on the wall of our capillaries which makes it difficult to transport oxygen to the hair cells efficiently.

If these hair cells are damaged, they cannot be regenerated and the hearing loss suffered is permanent.

Heart Disease

In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, killing roughly 610,000 people annually.

Those with cardiovascular disease can have a variety of medical issues affecting the structure and vessels of the heart. The most common types include those which narrow or block vessels, causing poor blood flow and oxygen circulation.

Much like the effects of obesity, poor circulation robs the delicate hair cells in your inner ear of adequate oxygen, causing damage or irreparable destruction. Due to the fact that these hair cells do not regenerate, this damage can result in permanent hearing loss.

Antibiotics

Certain types of antibiotics, namely aminoglycosides, can result in hearing loss a side-effect use. These types of antibiotics are often a necessity to treat life-threatening bacterial infections.

A bacterial infection can cause inflammation in the inner ear, among other systems in the body. When the inflammation is present, the amount of aminoglycoside antibiotics that are absorbed by the vulnerable inner parts of the ear increases. When too many of the toxins are absorbed by the inner parts of the ear, specifically the cochlea and auditory nerve, the sensory cells that detect sound and motion are killed.

It these types of antibiotics have been prescribed to you by a doctor, an audiologist can help you monitor your hearing to determine if any damage has occurred.

Chronic Stress

When we’re stressed, the adrenaline increase we experience causes us to breathe faster and divert oxygen to our muscles so we can quickly take action. If we’re constantly stressed, the body doesn’t receive a clear signal to return to normal and lower our adrenaline levels. This will significantly affect the flow of oxygen in our bodies.

Much like obesity and heart disease, the inability to receive a healthy flow of oxygen to the hairs in our inner ear, can irreparably damage them and lead to permanent hearing loss in adults.

It is important to remember that the conditions listed above are risk factors only, and the presence of these conditions in a person does not mean they will suffer from hearing loss. If you or a loved one are diagnosed with one of the aforementioned conditions, make it a habit to have your hearing checked regularly.

If you’ve been recommended a hearing aid from your doctor or audiologist to combat your hearing loss, the team at Best Hearing Aid are ready to help. Give us a call on (800) 350-5056 to have a chat and discover what hearing aid is right for you.

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