Your hearing health is linked to numerous other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults revealed that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but less severe. 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 revealed a consistent connection between hearing loss and diabetes.
So a greater danger of hearing loss is firmly linked to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and particularly, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One hypothesis is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of your general health might also be a relevant possibility. Individuals who failed to deal with or manage their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study carried out on military veterans. It’s important to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender seems to be the only variable that makes a difference: Men with high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. This is one reason why those who have high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is treatable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you need to make an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are developing any amount of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss might put you at a higher chance of dementia. Almost 2000 people were analyzed over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia increases by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study carried out over 10 years by the same researchers. They also found a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the risk of someone without hearing loss. The risk increases to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.