Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that observed over 5,000 adults. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research reported that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. A more recent meta-study found that the link between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is linked to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing impairment? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. A whole variety of health issues have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. One theory is that the condition might impact 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. Research that observed military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s essential to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears
It is well known that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that appears to matter is gender: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: Besides the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries run right near it. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power with every beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be damaged by this. High blood pressure is treatable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you need to schedule an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are developing any degree of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You may have a greater risk of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Almost 2000 individuals were examined over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk of dementia rises by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had a similar link to hearing loss. Based on these results, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. The danger rises to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s essential, then, to get your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.