From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are linked to the health of your hearing. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that observed over 5,000 adults. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30 percent more likely to have hearing loss than people with regular blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study revealed that the link between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So a greater danger of hearing loss is firmly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing impairment? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can lead to physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health may also be a relevant possibility. A study that observed military veterans highlighted the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. 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 associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are solid. The only variable that appears to matter is gender: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right near it. This is one reason why those with high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more force behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be damaged by this. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But if you think you’re developing hearing impairment, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you need to make an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
You may have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed nearly 2,000 patients over the course of six years discovered that the danger of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over 10 years by the same researchers. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than someone with normal hearing. The danger goes up to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
The truth is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it evaluated and treated. Your health depends on it.