Your hearing health is linked to numerous other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to have 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 tones, but less severe. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, those who have 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 regular blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study discovered a consistent link between diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is related to an increased danger of hearing impairment. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of experiencing hearing impairment? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health concerns, and particularly, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar damaging affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health might also be a relevant possibility. Research that looked at military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, people who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are concerned that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk to a doctor and get your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
It is well established that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. The only variable that appears to matter is gender: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries go directly 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. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical damage to your ears. There’s more power with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But you need to schedule an appointment for a hearing exam if you suspect you are developing any amount of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss might put you at a greater risk of dementia. Nearly 2000 individuals were examined over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk of dementia increases by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. These studies also revealed 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 normal hearing. The danger goes up to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
The truth is, if you’re experiencing hearing loss, you need to get it tested and treated. Your health depends on it.