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Consumer Reports: Surprising links to hearing loss

Posted: 8:36 AM, Feb 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-04 10:36:27-05

19 years ago, audiologist Craig Kasper experienced sudden hearing loss in one ear. After he was prescribed steroids and antiviral medicine, his hearing began to improve. But over the course of about a month he developed issues in one eye and began losing weight.

"I went to the emergency room and the ER docs handed me the diagnosis of someone with diabetes, and that forever changed my life," says Kasper.

Although hearing loss is twice as common among people with diabetes compared to those without it, it's unclear whether diabetes, a virus, or something else was the cause in Kraig's case. But one thing is for sure: A higher risk of hearing loss has been linked to these and other underlying illnesses, like osteoporosis, high cholesterol, and certain infections.

"The best thing you can do in all those cases is just make sure you are treating the underlying condition," says Consumer Reports Health Editor, Lauren Friedman.

And even some prescription drugs, or high doses of acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin have been linked to an increased risk of hearing loss. If you notice any hearing loss, Consumer reports says see your doctor immediately.

"If it's addressed quickly permanent damage can often be prevented or minimized," says Friedman.

"For me to be able to now look back understanding what I could have lost, I am massively grateful for the fact that my hearing did return because I did get treatment right away," says Kasper.

And of course, loud sounds, especially for long periods of time, can harm your hearing. The World Health Organization says to listen to music on personal devices at no more than 60% volume and maximum an hour a day. Protecting your ears with ear plugs during fireworks, or concerts can also help.