Your hearing health is linked to numerous other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is connected to your health.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, people with diabetes were two times as likely to have mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that observed over 5,000 adults. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but less severe. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, 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 people with regular blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study discovered a consistent connection between hearing loss and diabetes.
So an increased danger of hearing impairment is firmly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of experiencing hearing impairment? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health problems, and in particular, can result in physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One hypothesis is that the disease might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of your general health may also be a relevant possibility. Individuals who failed to deal with or manage their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study conducted on military veterans. It’s essential to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have demonstrated that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: Men who have high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Besides the numerous tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries run right near it. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure frequently experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. High blood pressure is treatable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. 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 schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Nearly 2000 individuals were examined over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia rises by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, revealed that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. The risk increases to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.