From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are connected to your hearing health. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that evaluated more than 5,000 adults found that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss 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 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 discovered a consistent link between diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is related to an increased risk of hearing impairment. But the real question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health problems, and particularly, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health could also be a relevant possibility. A study that observed military veterans highlighted the connection between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears
Multiple 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. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. 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.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct 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. This is one reason why those who have high blood pressure frequently experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical harm to your ears. There’s more power behind every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is treatable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing test if you think you are developing any degree of hearing loss.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
Hearing loss might put you at a higher risk of dementia. Nearly 2000 individuals were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia increases by 24%. And the worse the level of hearing impairment, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over 10 years by the same researchers. 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 somebody with functional hearing. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to get your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.