Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults determined that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to endure mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research reported that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing loss. A more recent meta-study revealed that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So a greater risk of hearing impairment is solidly connected to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a connection. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole range of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar harmful impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health could also be a relevant possibility. Research that observed military veterans highlighted the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s essential 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 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 may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables such as whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: Men with high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries run directly by your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. People with high blood pressure, often, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical damage to your ears. There’s more power behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is treatable using 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 should make an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Almost 2000 individuals were analyzed over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk of dementia increases by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had a similar connection to hearing loss. Based on these results, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing tested. Your health depends on it.