From depression to dementia, many other health problems are connected to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that looked at more than 5,000 adults determined that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. 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 normal blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study discovered that the link between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So a greater danger of hearing loss is firmly connected to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit 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 may also be a relevant possibility. A study that observed military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are worried that you might 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
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables such as whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are solid. The only variable that appears to make a difference is gender: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries run right by it. People 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. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power behind every beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you should schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a higher chance of dementia. Research from Johns Hopkins University that observed almost 2,000 people over the course of six years found that the chance of cognitive impairment 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. They also uncovered a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. The risk increases to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
The truth is, if you’re experiencing hearing loss, you should get it tested and treated. It’s about your state of health.