Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that examined over 5,000 adults revealed that people 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 impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research reported that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. A more recent meta-study revealed that the link between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So a greater risk of hearing impairment is firmly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole variety of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. One hypothesis is that the condition may affect the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it may also be related to general health management. A study that looked at military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Numerous studies have revealed 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 adjusting for variables such as whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: Males 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 in your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right near it. People 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 harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. There’s more force with each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is manageable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing exam if you suspect you are experiencing any amount of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss might put you at a higher chance of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that observed nearly 2,000 people over six years discovered that the danger of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over a decade by the same researchers. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. The risk increases to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing tested. Your health depends on it.