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The two most common causes of hearing loss are aging and exposure to loud noises. But did you know this condition can also be caused by a number of diseases as well? Understanding what health conditions can lead to hearing loss can help you protect yourself.

DiabetesFemale doctor uses a stethoscope to examine an elderly paient's heartbeat

This disease is almost as common as hearing loss, with an estimated 34 million Americans experiencing the condition.

A recent study found that those with high blood sugar levels are nearly twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without diabetes. In addition, of the 88 million adults in the U.S. who are prediabetic, their rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than those with normal blood sugar levels.

Researchers suspect the link between these two conditions is because diabetes causes damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear. Hearing loss is the result of damage to these inner ear cells.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a category that includes high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. These conditions can make it difficult for your body to circulate blood. Delicate hair cells within your inner ear are responsible for passing sounds onto your brain to be processed. Without proper blood flow, these hair cells can die. Unlike other cells in the body, they cannot regenerate.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This autoimmune disease causes pain and inflammation in your joints. This swelling can cause damage to your cartilage, bones and tissue over time. Nearly 75 percent of people with this condition also develop hearing loss.

Unlike the conditions explained above, experts are unsure why most people with rheumatoid arthritis end up developing hearing loss. Some think patients may experience swelling in the cartilage and bones of the ear, making it harder to hear.

Influenza

Common symptoms of the flu include fever, fatigue and muscle aches. Lesser known symptoms are both temporary and permanent hearing loss.

Temporary hearing loss is attributed to a buildup of fluid within the middle ear. If the flu is not treated, the virus can permanently damage the hearing organs within the ear.

To learn more about lesser known causes of hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Houston Hearing Center today.

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