Your hearing health is linked to many other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, people with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but less severe. 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 loss than people with normal blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study discovered a consistent connection between diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at an increased danger of experiencing hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. A whole variety of health problems have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. One hypothesis is that the disease could affect the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it may also be related to overall health management. A study that looked at military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are concerned that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk to a doctor and get your blood sugar tested.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears
It is well established that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, 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 make a difference is gender: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The circulatory system and the ears have a close relationship: Besides the numerous tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right by it. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, 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 result in physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind every beat. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be injured by this. High blood pressure is treatable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re developing hearing loss, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you should make an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
Hearing loss may put you at a higher risk of dementia. Almost 2000 people were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk of dementia rises by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over 10 years by the same researchers. They also uncovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of someone without hearing loss. The danger goes up to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it tested and treated. It’s about your state of health.