Your hearing health is linked to numerous other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is related to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that examined over 5,000 adults determined that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. A more recent meta-study revealed that the link between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased risk of hearing impairment. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk 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 cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and limbs. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health might also be a relevant possibility. Research that observed military veterans highlighted the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, people who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s important to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Numerous studies have shown 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 taking into consideration variables like noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that seems to matter is gender: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with each beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is manageable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you should make an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are experiencing any amount of hearing loss.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You may have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Almost 2000 people were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia increases by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study carried out over 10 years by the same researchers. They also uncovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than someone with normal hearing. The danger rises to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s essential, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.