From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are connected to your hearing health. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed 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 revealed a consistent link between diabetes and hearing loss.
So a greater danger of hearing impairment is solidly connected to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. A whole range of health problems have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, kidneys, and eyes. One hypothesis is that the disease might affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it might also be related to overall health management. Individuals who failed to treat or control their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study performed on military veterans. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk to a doctor and get your blood sugar tested.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Numerous studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually speed up age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables such as noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that seems to matter is gender: Males with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of hearing loss.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more power behind every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. High blood pressure is treatable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are experiencing any amount of hearing loss.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss may put you at a greater risk of dementia. Nearly 2000 individuals were analyzed over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia rises by 24%. 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 findings, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the risk of someone without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.