Hearing Loss Linked to Several Health Issues

Untreated hearing loss here in the United States is a growing epidemic. The statistics are alarming. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 36 million Americans have a hearing loss—this includes 17% of our adult population. The incidence of hearing loss increases with age. Approximately one third of Americans between ages 65 and 74 and nearly half of those over age 75 have hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults. Unfortunately, only 20% of those individuals who might benefit from treatment actually seek help.

Hearing loss is known to be linked to a range of health issues, with feelings of depression and social isolation being some of the most well-known. But actually, there are several other health issues that recent studies have linked to hearing loss. Some of these related health issues include osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease and even teeth grinding. Hearing health is closely related to general health, so properly monitoring your health could have positive hearing benefits at some point in your life.

The relation between hearing loss and osteoporosis can be found in a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. People who have osteoporosis face a 1.76-fold higher risk of developing sudden deafness than those who do not have the bone disease, according to the study. That would be helpful information for anyone suffering from weak and deteriorating bone structure. With more than 40 million people nationwide already have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing the condition due to low bone mass, thousands of people are at risk of hearing issues.  How does this happen? Well, a study from the University of Illinois linked osteoporosis and hearing loss, theorizing that demineralization of the three middle ear bones may contribute to or cause a conductive hearing impairment.

Kidney disease has also been associated with hearing loss, as shown in a report published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation. This report concludes that toxins that accumulate in kidney failure can damage nerves, including those in the inner ear. Another reason for the link between hearing loss and kidney disease, according to experts, is that both conditions share common risk factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure and advanced age.

Hearing loss is also linked to teeth grinding which is probably one of the least known connections. The explanation for hearing loss is not always simple; it can sometimes be the symptom of another condition such as grinding or clenching teeth. Doing so can cause problems with the jaw joint, putting stress on the muscles and making them inflamed. Severe teeth grinding can cause an earache, ringing or buzzing in the ears known as tinnitus and sometimes loss of hearing in one or both ears, possibly caused by muscular spasms of the muscles of the inner ear. While there is a possibility of treating this, you will need the help of an audiologist who can diagnose and select your best course of action with you.

Treating hearing loss with a professional audiologist could help alleviate some of these problems. Hearing loss treatment includes and will have a positive effect on your overall well-being and your quality of life. Isolation and embarrassment no longer plays a role in everyday life and you can get back to doing the things your life while feeling better, and living a bit healthier. Don’t be one of the statistics of people who put off hearing loss treatment any longer. We are waiting to help. Patients with a conductive hearing loss can wear hearing aids and enjoy better hearing for many years to come.



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