Your hearing health is linked to many other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is connected to your health.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that examined more than 5,000 adults revealed that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Hearing loss 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 who have blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment than people with regular blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study found that the link between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is linked to an increased danger of hearing impairment. But the significant question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole variety of health concerns have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. One theory is that the condition might affect the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of your general health could also be a relevant possibility. Individuals who failed to treat or control their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study carried out on military veterans. If you are concerned that you may 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
It is well known that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables like whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries run right past your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power behind each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing impairment, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you should make an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
You may have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that observed almost 2,000 patients over six years found that the danger of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, 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 a similar link to hearing loss. Based on these results, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the risk of someone without hearing loss. The risk goes up to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.