Although you are likely already aware of the common causes of hearing loss such as aging and exposure to loud noises, there are some other causes of hearing loss that may surprise you. Here, we’ve gathered a few to share with you.

Here are 5 surprising causes of hearing loss:

  1. Medications

There are a number of medications that are known to cause hearing loss as a side effect because of the way they work in the body. They are known as ototoxic drugs, and are more likely to do damage when used together or in larger doses, so always let your doctor know if you are taking any of these and experience a chance in hearing.

Some common ototoxic drugs include:

  • Aspirin when more than 8 pills are taken daily
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which include naproxen and ibuprofen
  • Various antibiotics including streptomycin, neomycin, and gentamicin
  • Loop diuretics which help with heart failure and high blood pressure like Lasix and bumetanide
  • Certain cancer medications such as bleomycin, cisplatin, and cyclophosphamide.
  1. Uncontrolled Diabetes

Although more research is needed to confirm whether or not diabetes causes hearing loss, there is a lot of evidence that supports this claim. One study found that around 21% of people with diabetes also had hearing loss compared to around 9% of people without diabetes that had hearing loss.

The reason many experts are connecting diabetes and hearing loss is that prolonged high blood sugar levels cause damage to small blood vessels, including those that are in the ears. Damage to these blood vessels can lead to hearing loss. For this reason, it is even more important for people who have diabetes to make sure that it is under control to keep their blood sugar levels where they’re supposed to be.

  1. Obesity

It is not completely clear why obesity can cause hearing loss, but there is certainly a connection. A recent study found that obese women were 17% more likely to develop hearing loss compared to those who had a normal body weight. Because this study also found that women who exercised more had lower incidences of hearing loss, this may be related to activity level more than weight alone.

Those who are overweight or obese should therefore be sure to get plenty of exercise and do what it takes to get to a healthier body weight if they want to avoid an increased risk of hearing loss. There is a myriad of other problems that come with obesity, as well, providing even more reasons for people to get more exercise and eat healthy in order to be healthier.

  1. Smoking

According to one study of over 3,000 people, it was found that people who smoked cigarettes were 70% more likely to have hearing loss when compared to those who did not smoke. More research is needed to find out why smoking causes hearing loss, but it is clear that there is a connection, so for that and other reasons, it’s best to quit smoking, or avoid starting in the first place.

  1. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is when your blood is being pumped through your body with more force than is actually necessary to maintain proper blood flow. This causes damage to various organs, particularly the heart, and other parts of the body such as blood vessels.

Damage to the small blood vessels around the ear can lead to hearing damage and loss. If you have a history of high blood pressure, make sure you are taking care of it and either making dietary changes or taking medication as directed by your doctor to avoid hearing loss along with other problems that arise from high blood pressure.