From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are linked to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, people 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 impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. 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 normal blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study discovered a consistent connection between diabetes and hearing loss.
So a greater danger of hearing loss is solidly connected to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk 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 particularly, can result in physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. One hypothesis is that the disease might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of overall health could also be a relevant possibility. A study that observed military veterans underscored the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, people who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s essential to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears
It is well known 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 seems to make a difference is gender: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: 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 with high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially lead to physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. There’s more force behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be injured by this. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are experiencing any amount of hearing loss.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Research from Johns Hopkins University that observed almost 2,000 people over the course of six years discovered that the risk of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (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 uncovered 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. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.