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 linked to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that evaluated more than 5,000 adults determined that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to experience 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 revealed that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing loss. A more recent meta-study discovered that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased danger of hearing impairment. But the significant question is why is there a connection. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. A whole range of health problems have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. One theory is that the disease might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of overall health may also be a relevant possibility. A study that looked at military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, essentially, people who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s important to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you think you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears
Numerous studies have demonstrated that hearing loss is connected to 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 consistent. The only variable that appears to matter is gender: Males with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a close relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries run directly past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially lead to physical damage to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing examination if you think you are experiencing any amount of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You may have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Research from Johns Hopkins University that observed nearly 2,000 patients over six years discovered that the chance of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (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 link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the risk of someone without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.