Diseases and Disorders Linked to Hearing Loss

Nov 3, 2010 by

More than 28 million people in the United States are deaf or have hearing loss. Older people are the most affected: 30 to 40% of people aged 65 and older have significant hearing loss. However, children, teenagers, and adults are also affected by this disorder in percentages no less significant.  Different causes such as exposure to loud noise and aging are commonly linked to hearing loss, yet studies have revealed numerous diseases are considered another important cause that leads to this condition. Some of them are associated to conductive hearing loss, which is known as a mechanical problem in the external ear canal or middle ear that blocks the conduction of sound. Others are associated to sensoneural hearing loss, caused by damage to the sensory structures (hair cells) of the inner ear, auditory nerve, or auditory nerve pathways in the brain.

Accumulation of fluid is the most common cause of conductive hearing loss in the middle ear, especially in children. Fluid can accumulate as a result of different diseases such as ear infections or conditions, allergies or tumors. Hearing loss that is more severe in one ear may be caused by a noncancerous (benign) tumor. Such tumors include a vestibular schwannoma (more commonly termed an acoustic neuroma) and a meningioma. The hearing loss may be accompanied by tinnitus, difficulty with balance, and facial numbness or weakness.

Childhood infections especially mumps and meningitis are also linked to, and the most common causes of, unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Numerous other bacterial and viral infections including herpes, cytomegalo virus (CMV), measles, mononucleosis, chickenpox, pneumonia, influenza, and fungal diseases may cause hearing problems as well.

Hearing loss can be a combination of conductive and sensorineural loss. Different disorders, including age related conditions, are documented to be a direct cause of this ailment. The most common types range from metabolic disorders to congenital illness.

The following is a list of disorders linked to hearing loss:

  • Metabolic disorders, such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, and hyperlipoproteinemia
  • Vascular disorders, such as hypertension and arteriosclerosis
  • Congenital infection, such as toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes, syphilis
  • Age-related disorder (presbycusis)
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Demyelinating diseases (diseases that destroy the myelin sheath covering nerves)
  • Congenital abnormality, such as otosclerosis, a hereditary disorder, the bone surrounding the middle and inner ear grows excessively.
  • Head trauma or brain tumors

The link between certain conditions and hearing loss is just the results of different studies that have shown these effects in a large population. In other words, it is not a 100 % proven that an individual who has suffered one diseases linked to hearing loss will actually become deaf or develop hearing loss. For example, just because you have mumps, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to suffer hearing loss.

If you or a loved one are suffering from hearing loss, contact us at HearFlorida. Our hearing care professionals can help you today!