From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are connected to the health of your hearing. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is linked to your health.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults determined that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but less severe. This same research revealed that individuals 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 hearing loss and diabetes.
So an increased risk of hearing loss is firmly linked to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can result in physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One hypothesis is that the disease might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of overall health might also be a relevant possibility. Research that looked at military veterans highlighted the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it revealed that those with unchecked diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
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’re a smoker. Gender seems to be the only variable that makes a difference: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: Besides the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right near it. This is one reason why those with high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical harm to your ears. There’s more power with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing test if you suspect you are experiencing any amount of hearing loss.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You might have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Nearly 2000 individuals were analyzed over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia rises by 24%. And the worse the level of hearing loss, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study carried out over a decade by the same researchers. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with normal hearing. The risk goes up to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.