'Lesser known’ ear symptom of 'silent killer' affecting one in four Brits

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Hearing loss could be a sign of high cholesterol (Image: Getty Images/DisabilityImages)
Hearing loss could be a sign of high cholesterol (Image: Getty Images/DisabilityImages)

A health expert has warned that hearing loss could be a "lesser-known" sign of a condition that is so common among Brits that one in four suffers from it.

High cholesterol is often dubbed a silent killer because most of the time it does not cause symptoms and you can only find out if you have it by having a blood test. The NHS explains the condition happens when you have too much cholesterol - a fatty substance - in your blood.

It is mainly caused by eating fatty food, not exercising enough, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol. It can also run in families. Patients can lower their cholesterol levels by eating healthily and exercising more, with some also needing to take medicine. If you have too much cholesterol, this can block your blood vessels, putting you at risk of developing heart problems or a stroke.

Hearing loss expert Peter Byrom told Express.co.uk that hearing loss might be a "lesser-known" sign of the fatty substance as he explained: "While it may not be the first warning sign that pops up, it's definitely something worth keeping an eye (or rather ear) out for." He explained that hearing loss triggered by high cholesterol tends to be gradual and often affects both ears equally.

It often starts as difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds or understanding conversation in noisy environments. If left untreated, it can worsen over time, Mr Byrom added. He said that cholesterol makes the arteries narrower which restricts blood flow, and since your ears rely on a healthy blood supply to function properly, hearing issues may arise. He added: "When blood flow to the delicate structures of the inner ear is compromised, it can result in hearing loss."

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The hearing loss expert said that if you start experiencing problems with your ears, you should seek medical attention. He explained: "They can perform a thorough evaluation, which may include blood tests to check your cholesterol levels. If high cholesterol is indeed the culprit, they will likely suggest various lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication to help manage your cholesterol levels."

Earlier this year, we reported that Dr Sami Firoozi, consultant cardiologist at the Harley Street Clinic, said a sign of high cholesterol can show in people's toes. Brittle or slow-growing toenails are a sign of high cholesterol. Three other signs are Tendon xanthomata which is the swelling of knuckles, knees and backs of ankles, Xanthelasmas which are small yellow lumps of cholesterol near the inner corner of your eye and Corneal arcus which is a pale ring that might appear around your iris.

The British Heart Foundation reports that almost half of UK adults are living with cholesterol levels above national guidelines of total cholesterol (greater than 5mmol/L). However, cardiologist Dr Elizabeth Klodas has revealed the top three foods to slash cholesterol levels - and they all contain fibre. The expert said: "As a cardiologist, I always tell patients that lowering their LDL [low-density lipoprotein] 'bad' cholesterol can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

"Many foods have soluble fibre, which binds cholesterol in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation." Firstly, Dr Klodas has hailed oats as essential to lowering cholesterol, she said: "I always stock my kitchen with oats, and typically have half a cup per day. Not only are they high in fibre, they contain plenty of antioxidants, including those that help improve blood vessel function and lower blood pressure."

Diana Buntajova

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