Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is connected to your health.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that examined more than 5,000 adults determined that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but not as severe. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, 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 normal blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study revealed a consistent link between hearing loss and diabetes.
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is linked to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health concerns, and particularly, can result in physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and limbs. One hypothesis is that the disease could impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it might also be related to overall health management. People who failed to treat or control their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study carried out on military veterans. It’s important to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears
It is well established that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
The circulatory system and the ears have a close relationship: Besides the numerous tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right near it. People with high blood pressure, often, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more power behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you need to make an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss may put you at a greater risk of dementia. Research 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 loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the level of hearing impairment, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over a decade by the same researchers. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had a similar link to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. The danger increases to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.