From depression to dementia, many other health problems are linked to your hearing health. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but less severe. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30 percent more likely to have hearing impairment than those with normal blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study revealed that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is related to an increased danger of hearing impairment. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of experiencing hearing impairment? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health problems, and particularly, can result in physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health might also be a relevant possibility. Research that observed military veterans underscored the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, people who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk to a doctor and have your blood sugar tested.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
It is well known that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: Males with high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right near it. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical damage to your ears. There’s more power with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you need to make an appointment for a hearing test if you think you are developing any degree of hearing loss.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You might have a greater risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Research from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 patients over six years discovered that the risk of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study carried out 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 someone without hearing loss. The risk goes up to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.