Five medical conditions that can cause hearing loss

A variety of factors can contribute to hearing loss, a condition impacting nearly 40 million Americans (about 20 percent) to some degree. This may range from exposure to loud noise or hereditary factors to head injury or simply the aging process. However, a number of hearing loss cases stem from medical conditions.

Below are some of the most common medical conditions that can lead to hearing loss.


Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a very common long-term medical condition affecting 1 in 4 American adults. The amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries determines your blood pressure. This in turn determines the amount of work being done by the heart and resistance of the arteries.

Studies have shown high blood pressure to be an accelerating factor to the degeneration of the hearing apparatus due to aging. Hearing loss can have a great impact on quality of life, making it difficult to communicate with others. This can lead to feelings of isolation, confusion, and frustration.


Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from diabetes, while more than one million new cases are diagnosed nationwide each year.

When most people think about complication of diabetes, hearing loss isn’t usually considered. However, research shows that people with uncontrolled type 1 or type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss. As a result of elevated blood glucose levels, 1 in 3 people with diabetes will experience some degree of hearing loss. Nerves in the ears can break down, similar to nerve damage that can cause symptoms like tingling in the fingers and toes.


Osteoporosis is a bone disease that weakens bones and makes them easier to break. There are more then 3 million cases in the U.S. each year. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis and low bone mass are currently estimated to be a major public health threat for almost 44 million U.S. women and men aged 50 and older.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that those with osteoporosis are 76 percent more likely to develop sudden onset hearing loss. While most cases of hearing loss tend to be gradual over time, sudden onset hearing loss occurs all at once or over the course of a few days. The chance of getting some hearing back in these cases is more likely if the problem is diagnosed within the first few weeks. The challenge however, is sudden hearing loss symptoms can feel mild, like plugged ears after getting off an airplane, making it seem like less of an emergency situation. If you know someone with osteoporosis dealing with hearing issues, the best thing is for them to see an audiologist as soon as possible.

High cholesterol

We know that high cholesterol can be a major contributing factor to cardiovascular disease. People with high cholesterol have twice the risk of heart disease as people with lower levels. But what many people don’t know is its impact on hearing loss.

In addition to hearing loss, tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a symptom that can occur when high cholesterol and triglycerides are in the bloodstream. In these cases it’s important to follow your physician’s advice on the best way to reduce high cholesterol.

Stroke or other vascular accident

According to a study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, sudden hearing loss may be an early indicator of susceptibility of having a stroke. A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Research from the study showed the group experiencing severe hearing loss was 150 percent more likely to experience a stroke within two years of the start of hearing loss, when compared to a control group.