March: Kidney Disease + Hearing Loss, Written by Dr. Gabino Maza, MD (Nephrology Fellow)

Research has shown that people who have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) are at risk of developing Hearing Loss. According to the CDC, more than 1 in 7, that is 15% of adults in the United States, or 37 million people, are estimated to have CKD. Due to the prevalence, it is important to be informed of this connection between kidney and hearing health.

Among the causes of Chronic Kidney Disease, the most common are Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. Helping yourself and your loved ones to get these conditions under control will prevent the progression of Kidney Disease and reduce the risk of Hearing Loss as well.

Finally, some drugs such as loop diuretics used in the treatment of patients with CKD are well-known for their risk of ototoxicity (having a toxic effect on the ear or its nerve supply) when given at high doses. Kidneys and ears do not share only shape, the inner structure of the ear also has functional similarities with the kidney, and if the filtering of the kidney is not working adequately, the function of the inner ear can be affected.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, a study showed that half the patients with Chronic Kidney Disease had some degree of Hearing Loss and one-third reported severe hearing loss! If you or your loved ones have Chronic Kidney Disease or are taking ototoxic medication, It is wise to be evaluated by experts in Audiology for a hearing test for early detection and intervention.