11 Surprising Conditions Linked with Hearing Loss

Conditions Causing Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is often linked with noise exposure. Noise exposure is one of the leading causes of permanent hearing loss. But, there are many health conditions that are also linked with hearing loss. Hearing loss may be a result of the condition or have an unknown association with it. Know your risk factors. Talk with your doctor about a hearing test if you have these conditions.

Acoustic neuroma

An acoustic neuroma is a type of noncancerous, slow-growing tumor. The tumor develops on the main nerve from the inner ear to the brain. This influences hearing and balance.
An acoustic neuroma can cause gradual hearing loss in one ear or ringing in the ears (tinnitus). It can also cause a loss of balance, facial numbness, and a feeling of fullness in the ears. You will need medical treatment. This includes monitoring, radiation, and surgery.
The cause of acoustic neuroma is a faulty gene. What causes the faulty gene is not known. There is a rare genetic disorder—neurofibromatosis type 2—that is the only known risk factor. It accounts for only five percent of tumor cases.


Two-thirds of people in the U.S. over 70 experience hearing loss. Recent findings have linked hearing loss to cognitive decline and dementia. Hearing loss seems to speed up age-related cognitive decline.
There are a few theories about the link, and even many causes, but no definitive evidence yet. Treating hearing loss earlier may help ward off dementia and cognitive decline. Treatment includes hearing aids or cochlear implants. Prevention measure against further hearing loss is also recommended. Hearing loss can also cause social isolation. This is a known factor in the development of dementia.


There is a large overlap of people with diabetes and people with hearing loss. There are 84 million adults in the US who are prediabetic. They have a 30% higher rate of hearing loss than those with normal blood glucose levels.
A study found hearing loss to be twice as common in diabetic people than in those without diabetes. Hearing loss is prevalent in both type I and type II diabetes. The link between diabetes and hearing loss is not known. But, many believe it can come from blood vessel damage caused by high levels of blood sugar.

Ear infections (otitis media)

Ear infections come from bacteria or a virus in the middle ear. These infections are usually secondary to a primary upper respiratory illness. This can include influenza, a cold, or allergies. Mucus and inflammation cause accumulation of fluids in the middle ear. This leaves it vulnerable to bacterial or viral infection.
Children are more susceptible to ear infections than adults. This is due to their narrower Eustachian tubes. There are many risk factors for ear infections. Mild hearing loss is common with an ear infection. It often resolves to pre-infection levels after the infection clears up. Persistent infections may cause significant or permanent hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss can occur with damage to the eardrum or middle ear structures.

Head injuries

There are many types of physical head injuries that may cause hearing loss. This includes a traumatic brain injury, damage to the middle ear, or a hole or rupture in the eardrum. The degree of hearing loss depends on the type and severity of damage to the head. It is often permanent. High-energy impact accidents and sports injuries are head injuries that cause hearing loss.

Heart disease

Heart disease affects the entire population. It is the leading cause of death in the U.S. responsible for about 1 in every 4 deaths. About 610,000 people die of heart disease every year in the US. There is a lot of research showing the effect of heart disease on hearing loss. Research has also shown that it compounds existing hearing loss. This affects both young and older adults.
Inner ear hair cells depend on oxygen supplied by blood flow to keep them alive and healthy. When there is heart damage, it may be unable to supply enough blood to the hair cells of the inner ear. The hair cells become damaged and die. This results in permanent hearing loss.
Hearing loss treatment depends on the level of damage and may involve hearing aids. Heart disease has many risk factors and most are preventable. Hearing loss can occur over time and should be often checked if you have heart disease.

Mèniére’s disease

The cause of this inner ear disease is unknown. Mèniére’s presents with sensorineural hearing loss and dizziness. You may also have tinnitus, feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear, and sensitivity to loud sounds. The disease often starts when people are between the ages of 30 and 50 and generally affects only one ear.
Mèniére’s disease is chronic. It often requires many treatments to relieve symptoms and reduce long-term impact. Hearing loss is a symptom and comes and goes. Over time, it becomes permanent. Treatment depends on the degree of hearing loss and may involve hearing aids.


Bacterial meningitis is a leading cause of acquired deafness, especially in children. Approximately eight percent of patients will experience a degree of permanent hearing loss.
In severe cases, bacteria, toxins, or the immune system response fluid may get into the inner ear. This damages the hair cells or nerve that leads to the brain. This type of hearing loss is sensorineural and permanent. It may occur in one or both ears and may differ in each ear.
In children, excess bone growth may occur post-recovery. This may make the hearing loss worse. A hearing test is necessary after recovery. If there is hearing loss, you will need follow-up monitoring. This is to determine proper treatment, such as hearing aids.


Mumps is a viral infection most often seen in children. Mumps causes the salivary glands to become inflamed leading to swollen cheeks. Hearing loss is a side effect of mumps, and it is permanent. The virus damages the hair cells of the inner ear (sensorineural hearing loss). Hearing loss from mumps is rare. Vaccinate your child against the mumps virus. Mumps is rare in the U.S. due to the MMR vaccine.


Otosclerosis is a middle ear disease that makes it harder for the bones in the middle ear to move. This is due to abnormal bone remodeling. When the bones cannot vibrate, sound cannot travel through the ear.
New and healthy bone tissue often replaces old tissue throughout a person’s lifetime. Abnormal remodeling causes conductive hearing loss. It disrupts the ability of sound to travel from the middle to the inner ear.
Hearing loss due to otosclerosis usually starts in one ear and then moves to the other ear. Dizziness, tinnitus, and balance problems may be present. This affects more than three million people in the US. They are most often white, middle-aged women. The cause of otosclerosis is often suspected to be hereditary. No drug treatment exists. Hearing aids may help with mild cases, but surgery is usually required to correct the problem.

Paget’s disease of bone

Paget’s disease affects the body’s natural bone recycling process. The disease causes faster than normal new bone generation. This rapid bone growth causes weaker and softer bone than normal. This results in bone pain, fractures, and deformities. If Paget’s disease affects the skull, hearing loss may result. The risk of Paget’s disease increases with age. There are other risk factors as well. Surgery may be necessary.