From depression to dementia, many other health conditions are linked to your hearing health. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults revealed that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to suffer mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but not as severe. The researchers also discovered that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30% more likely to have hearing loss than those with regular blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study found a consistent link between diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at an increased danger of suffering from hearing impairment? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar harmful impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health could also be a relevant possibility. A study that looked at military veterans highlighted the connection between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are worried that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to consult with a doctor and have your blood sugar tested.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. The only variable that seems to matter is gender: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: Besides the numerous tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right by it. This is one reason why those who have high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power with each beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you need to make an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You may have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed nearly 2,000 people over six years found that the chance of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study conducted over 10 years by the same researchers. These studies also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent connection to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.