Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. Your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but less severe. This same research revealed 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 revealed a consistent link between hearing loss and diabetes.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of suffering from hearing loss? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. A whole range of health problems have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health could also be a relevant possibility. A study that observed military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you suspect you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears
It is well known that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender appears to be the only variable that matters: Males with high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: Two of your body’s primary arteries go directly past 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. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical damage to your ears. There’s more force with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But you should make an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are developing any degree of hearing impairment.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
Hearing loss may put you at a greater chance of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed nearly 2,000 people over six years found that the danger of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also discovered a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these findings, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the risk of somebody without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
The truth is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it tested and treated. It’s about your state of health.