Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. A more recent meta-study revealed that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So an increased danger of hearing loss is firmly linked to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole range of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. One hypothesis is that the disease could impact the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of your general health might also be a relevant possibility. A study that looked at military veterans underscored the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, essentially, people who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise treating 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 tested.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate 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 seems 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: Besides the numerous tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries run right by it. People 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 type of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical harm to your ears. There’s more force behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is treatable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re developing hearing impairment, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you should make an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Research from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 people over the course of six years discovered that the risk of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). 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. They also found a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than someone with normal hearing. The risk goes up to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
The truth is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you need to get it evaluated and treated. It’s about your state of health.