From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are connected to the health of your hearing. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is connected to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that evaluated more than 5,000 adults found that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. 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 found a consistent connection between diabetes and hearing loss.
So an increased danger of hearing impairment is solidly connected to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at an increased danger of experiencing hearing loss? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. 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 overall health management. A study that looked at military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, essentially, people who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s important to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have demonstrated that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables such as noise exposure and whether you smoke. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: Males with high blood pressure are at a higher 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 run right near it. Individuals with high blood pressure, often, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical damage to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind every beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you should make an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss might put you at a higher risk of dementia. Nearly 2000 people were examined 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, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent connection to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with normal hearing. Severe hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.