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. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that examined over 5,000 adults found that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research reported that people who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing loss. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study discovered a consistent connection between hearing loss and diabetes.
So an increased risk of hearing impairment is firmly linked to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a connection. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health issues, and in particular, can lead to physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health could also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to deal with or control their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study performed on military veterans. If you are concerned that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to consult with a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables like whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender appears 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 ears and the circulatory system have a close relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries run directly past your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure often experience 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 called pulsatile tinnitus. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical damage to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power behind each beat. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you need to make an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a higher risk of dementia. Almost 2000 individuals were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk of dementia rises by 24%. And the worse the level of hearing loss, 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, based on these findings, than someone with functional hearing. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.