From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are linked to the health of your hearing. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is linked to your health.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that evaluated more than 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. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but not as severe. 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 impairment than those with normal blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study discovered that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So an increased danger of hearing loss is firmly connected to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of suffering from hearing impairment? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole variety of health problems have been connected 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 management of your general health may also be a relevant possibility. Research that observed military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who are not monitoring 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 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. Even when taking into consideration variables such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: Besides the numerous tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right near it. This is one reason why those who have high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical damage to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with every beat. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be injured by this. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing impairment, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you need to schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a greater risk of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that observed almost 2,000 people over six years found 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 conducted over a decade by the same researchers. These studies also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent link to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than somebody with normal hearing. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.