From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are connected to your hearing health. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is linked to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, people with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults. 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 loss. A more recent meta-study revealed that the connection between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is related to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of experiencing 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 extremities, eyes, and kidneys. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar harmful impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health could also be a relevant possibility. A study that looked at military veterans highlighted the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you suspect you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
Multiple 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 appears to matter is gender: Men who have high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.
The circulatory system and the ears have a close relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries run directly by your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. People with high blood pressure, often, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more force behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical intervention 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 make an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss might put you at a greater chance of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed nearly 2,000 people over the course of six years found that the risk of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the level of hearing impairment, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study carried out over a decade by the same researchers. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had a similar link to hearing loss. Based on these findings, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. The risk goes up to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
The truth is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it tested and treated. It’s about your state of health.