From depression to dementia, many other health conditions are connected to the health of your hearing. 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 tones, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to have mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but not as severe. The researchers also discovered that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, 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. A more recent meta-study discovered that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s pretty established that diabetes is connected to an increased risk of hearing loss. But the real question is why is there a link. Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health problems, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and limbs. One hypothesis is that the disease could affect the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it might also be associated with overall health management. Individuals who failed to deal with or manage their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study carried out on military veterans. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears
It is well established that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. Gender appears to be the only variable that matters: Males with high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: Two of your body’s main arteries run right by your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind every beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is treatable using 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 need to make an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You may have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Almost 2000 people were analyzed over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia rises by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, found 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 a similar connection to hearing loss. Based on these results, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of someone without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
The bottom line is, if you’re experiencing hearing loss, you should get it evaluated and treated. It’s about your state of health.