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8 Surprising Illnesses That Lead to Hearing Loss

Man suffering from hearing loss
Hearing loss is normally associated with older generations, such as your grandparents, but in reality, hearing loss can affect people of any age. If not caught early, hearing loss can be a result of an undiagnosed or improperly treated illness. Here are eight surprising illnesses that can lead to hearing loss and how treatment can lessen that potential.

1. Diabetes

Normally associated with blood sugar levels, diabetes can cause hearing problems. When blood glucose levels rise to extreme levels, small blood vessels throughout the body become damaged. That damage can affect tiny blood vessels in the ear, which can impair hearing.  Treatment, depending on the type of diabetes, is normally diet, exercise, or other prescribed methods to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

2. Viral Infections

Several viral infections are associated with hearing loss, but measles and mumps are the most common. Depending on the severity of the virus, children and infants can become infected and experience nerve damage in the ears.

If not treated, this infection can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Despite a recent rise in anti-vaccination, it is still important to vaccinate your children to prevent hearing loss and other complications associated with measles and mumps.

3. Ostosclerosis

Ostosclerosis is a hereditary disease that normally affects women between the ages of 10 and 30, but men can still inherit it. This condition causes unusual bone growth in the middle ear, leading to symptoms such as tinnitus (ringing noises in the ear), dizziness, and eventual hearing loss. You can get surgery such as a cochlear implantation, stapedectomy, or stapedotomy to treat ostosclerosis.

4. Meniere's 

Meniere's disease affects the inner ear and is thought to be caused by abnormal fluid levels in the ear. Normally only one ear is affected, and hearing and balance become disrupted. Symptoms include tinnitus, a feeling of fullness in the ear, vertigo, and hearing loss. No known cure exists for Meniere's disease, so doctors can only prescribe treatments to control these symptoms.

5. Acoustic Neuroma

Stemming from the brain to the ear are several nerves. The main auditory nerve in the inner ear can develop an acoustic neuroma, or noncancerous tumor. As the tumor grows over time, the resulting pressure on the surrounding nerves can bring about tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss. The appropriate treatment is to surgically remove the tumor before any hearing loss can occur.

6. Presbycusis

Affecting the inner and sometimes middle ear, presbycusis is caused by changes in the ear's blood supply. This age-related illness causes a sensorineural type of hearing loss, or hearing loss within the middle ear. Treatment includes excessive earwax prevention and using hearing aids.

7. Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes surrounding your spinal cord and brain. As these membranes become inflamed and swell, the infection can lead to increased light and sound sensitivity, confusion, fever, headache, and hearing loss. Fortunately, meningitis can be treated with antibiotic prescriptions.

8. Cholesteatoma

Cholesteatoma is an epidermal, or skin, cyst that appears in the middle ear. You can contract this condition at birth or as a product of having chronic ear infections. If the cyst grows larger, the likelihood of infection increases as well as feelings of vertigo and hearing loss.

If you suffer from unexplained hearing loss, make an appointment with a doctor to determine the cause. Viral infections like measles or mumps, cholesteatoma, and osteosclerosis can affect people of all ages.

Fortunately, you can overcome hearing loss with various hearing devices. If you or a loved one has suffered hearing loss of any kind, visit the hearing experts at House of Hearing for more information.