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 connected to your health.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that looked at more than 5,000 adults revealed 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. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but less severe. 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 revealed a consistent link between hearing loss and diabetes.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of experiencing hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. A whole range of health problems have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, kidneys, and eyes. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it may also be related to general health management. Research that observed military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are concerned that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
Numerous studies have revealed that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender seems to be the only variable that makes a difference: Men with high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries go directly by 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. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind every beat. That could potentially injure 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 too young for age-related hearing loss, you should make an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You may have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 people over six years discovered that the risk of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the risk 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, based on these findings, than somebody with normal hearing. The risk increases to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it evaluated and treated. Your health depends on it.