From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are linked to your hearing health. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that examined over 5,000 adults determined that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to endure mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but not as severe. 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 discovered a consistent connection between diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s pretty established that diabetes is linked to an increased danger of hearing impairment. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of suffering from hearing loss? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. A whole range of health concerns have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it might also be related to overall health management. Research that looked at military veterans underscored the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s essential 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 Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Numerous studies have demonstrated 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’re a smoker. The only variable that appears to matter is gender: Males with high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right near it. People with high blood pressure, often, 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 speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical damage to your ears. There’s more force behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing exam if you think you are developing any degree of hearing loss.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You may have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Nearly 2000 people were studied 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 increases by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study carried out over a decade by the same researchers. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent link to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.