Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

Your ears and your brain work together as a system. Most people perceive hearing loss as an inconsequential part of aging. Recent research has identified risk factors making you more susceptible to having hearing loss AND research has found direct links between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline, dementia, history of falling, mental health, tinnitus and income.

SMOKING

Current smokers are 1.69 times more likely, or have a 70 percent higher risk, to have hearing loss than nonsmokers.

DIABETES

Hearing loss is about twice as common in people with diabetes to those without the disease. Adults with pre-diabetes, whose blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis, have a 30 percent higher rate of hearing loss compared to those with normal blood sugar.

HYPERTENSION

There is a significant association between high blood pressure and untreated hearing loss. Hypertension can be an accelerating factor of hearing loss in older adults.

HEART HEALTH

The inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow. Studies have shown that a healthy cardiovascular system – a person’s heart, arteries and veins – has a positive effect on hearing. Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessel of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.

SOURCE: Starkey Hearing Technologies. Hearing Health: Pocket Guide. Eden Prairie, MN. Starkey Hearing, 2015. Print.