Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults found that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to endure 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. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30 percent more likely to have hearing loss than those with regular blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study discovered that the link between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So an increased risk of hearing loss is solidly linked to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole range of health concerns have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, kidneys, and eyes. One theory is that the condition could affect the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it might also be related to general health management. A study that observed military veterans underscored the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, essentially, people who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to consult with a doctor and get your blood sugar tested.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Numerous studies have demonstrated 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 adjusting for variables such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are solid. The only variable that appears to make a difference is gender: Men who have high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: Two of your body’s main arteries go right past your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels in 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 known as pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical harm to your ears. There’s more force behind every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be damaged by this. High blood pressure is manageable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re experiencing 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. Hearing Loss And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a higher risk of dementia. Almost 2000 individuals 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 risk of dementia increases by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over a decade by the same researchers. They also found a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these findings, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of someone without hearing loss. The risk increases to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.