Your hearing health is connected to many other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is connected to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults determined that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but less severe. This same research reported that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study found a consistent connection between hearing loss and diabetes.
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased danger of hearing loss. But the significant question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole variety of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. One hypothesis is that the disease may affect the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of overall health could also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to deal with or control their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study conducted on military veterans. It’s important to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. The only variable that appears to make a difference is gender: Men who have high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. People with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical damage to your ears. There’s more force behind every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing impairment, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you should schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You might have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Research from Johns Hopkins University that observed nearly 2,000 people over six years discovered that the chance of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also uncovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. 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 crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.