Your hearing health is connected to many other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, 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 tones, but not as severe. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, 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 impairment than those with normal blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study found that the connection between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So a greater risk of hearing impairment is solidly connected to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a connection. Science is at somewhat of a loss here. A whole range of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, kidneys, and eyes. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar harmful affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health might also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to deal with or control their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study conducted on military veterans. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to consult with a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears
Numerous studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: Two of your body’s primary arteries go right by your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. This is one reason why those with high blood pressure frequently experience 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 known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power behind every beat. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be damaged by this. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you should schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
Hearing loss may put you at a greater risk of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 patients over six years discovered that the risk of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study conducted over a decade by the same researchers. This research also revealed that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent link to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than someone with functional hearing. Extreme hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.