Substance Abuse is Associated with Hearing Loss

The current rate of substance abuse in America is alarming due to its devastating effects. Each day, around 130 people die due to overdose from drugs. Recent research has found that substance abuse is linked with the onset of hearing loss early in life.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine recently published a study which examined 86,000 participants who had hearing loss. Alcohol abuse as well as other forms of substance abuse was found to be connected with the occurrence of hearing loss in participants less than fifty years of age.

The younger populations tend to engage in multiple forms of substance abuse, which puts them at double the risk of getting hearing loss early in life compared to their substance-free counterparts.

The study found that the younger the participant, the stronger the link between their substance use and hearing loss. However, those participants above the age of fifty did not share a similar connection in terms of the link between substance use and hearing loss. The substance use (or lack thereof) of these older participants did not appear to have any connection to their level of hearing loss.

Interestingly, it was found that participants between ages 35-49 who had hearing loss had double the likelihood of developing some form of substance abuse compared to those who had regular hearing. The connection then seems to be vice versa, where substance abuse influences hearing loss, and hearing loss in turn influences substance abuse.

The study accounted for extraneous variables such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and social class. Although the results are rather alarming, it is important to keep in mind that correlation does not equal causation.