Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is linked to your health.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that observed more than 5,000 adults found that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to suffer mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed that people who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study discovered a consistent link between diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is connected to an increased risk of hearing loss. But the real question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole range of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar harmful affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health might also be a relevant possibility. Research that looked at military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with unchecked diabetes, essentially, people who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you think you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: Males who have high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries go directly past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more power behind every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is treatable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. 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 need to schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
Hearing loss may put you at a greater risk of dementia. Almost 2000 people were examined over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia rises by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study carried out over a decade by the same researchers. They also discovered a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. The danger goes up to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.