Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were two times 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. This same research reported that individuals 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 revealed a consistent link between diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of experiencing hearing impairment? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole range of health concerns have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. One theory is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of your general health may also be a relevant possibility. A study that observed military veterans highlighted the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but in particular, it revealed that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, people who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are concerned that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to consult with a doctor and have your blood sugar tested.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed 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 controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that seems to matter is gender: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: Besides the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right near it. Individuals with high blood pressure, often, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more force behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re developing hearing loss, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you should schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a greater risk of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 people over the course of six years found that the risk of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, found that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than somebody with normal hearing. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
The truth is, if you’re experiencing hearing loss, you need to get it evaluated and treated. Your health depends on it.