Your hearing health is linked to many other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is linked to your health.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also found 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 percent more likely to have hearing impairment than people with normal blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study revealed that the link between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So an increased danger of hearing impairment is solidly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole variety of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. One hypothesis is that the disease could affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it may also be related to general health management. People who failed to treat or manage their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study carried out on military veterans. If you are worried that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to consult with a doctor and get your blood sugar tested.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
It is well established that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. Gender appears to be the only variable that matters: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: In addition to the many 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 often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially lead to physical harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing impairment, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you need to schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a higher risk of dementia. Research from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 people over six years discovered that the chance of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, found that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. These studies also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent connection to hearing loss. Based on these findings, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of someone without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing tested. Your health depends on it.