Your hearing health is linked to many other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is related to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that observed more than 5,000 adults revealed that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice 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 sounds, but not as severe. 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 discovered that the link between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is connected to an increased risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of suffering from hearing impairment? Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole range of health problems have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar harmful affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it could also be related to general health management. People who failed to treat or manage their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study carried out on military veterans. If you are worried that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk to a doctor and get your blood sugar tested.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged 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 may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables like whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender appears to be the only variable that matters: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
The ears and the circulatory system have a close relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries go right past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. 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 known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical damage to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be damaged by this. High blood pressure is manageable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you should make an appointment for a hearing exam if you think you are experiencing any degree of hearing impairment.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You might have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. 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 risk of dementia rises by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, found that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. These studies also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had a similar connection to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than someone with functional hearing. Extreme hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you need to get it evaluated and treated. It’s about your state of health.