From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are linked to your hearing health. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that evaluated more than 5,000 adults determined 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. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed that individuals 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 diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is linked to an increased risk of hearing impairment. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of experiencing hearing impairment? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. It’s feasible 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 looked at military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s important to have a doctor check 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
It is well known that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. The only variable that appears to make a difference is gender: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: Besides the many tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries run right near it. This is one reason why those who have high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually 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 result in physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power with every beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re developing 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 greater risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Almost 2000 people 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 danger of dementia rises by 24%. 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. These studies also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent connection to hearing loss. Based on these findings, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the chance of someone without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it tested and treated. Your health depends on it.