From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are connected to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Impacted 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 experience mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but not as severe. This same research revealed that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing loss. A more recent meta-study discovered that the link between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s pretty established that diabetes is related to an increased danger of hearing loss. But the significant question is why is there a connection. Science is at somewhat of a loss here. A whole variety of health issues have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, kidneys, and eyes. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it could also be associated with overall health management. Research that looked at military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s important to have a doctor test 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
Multiple studies have demonstrated 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. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. The only variable that appears to make a difference is gender: Men with high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: Two of your body’s main arteries go right by your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. 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. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind every beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. 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 schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
You might have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Research from Johns Hopkins University that observed nearly 2,000 people over six years discovered that the risk of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, revealed that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. This research also revealed that Alzheimer’s had a similar connection to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than someone with normal hearing. The danger increases to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.