From depression to dementia, many other health problems are linked 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
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but less severe. 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 discovered a consistent connection between hearing loss and diabetes.
So an increased risk of hearing impairment is firmly linked to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a connection. Science is at somewhat of a loss here. A whole variety of health concerns have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. One hypothesis is that the condition could affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it may also be associated with general health management. A study that observed military veterans highlighted the connection between hearing impairment and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse outcomes. 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
It is well known that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, 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 appears to matter is gender: Men with high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a close relationship: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels in 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 kind of tinnitus is called 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 accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power behind each beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is manageable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you need to make an appointment for a hearing test if you suspect you are experiencing any degree of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
You might have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Nearly 2000 people were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk of dementia increases 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 a similar link to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than someone with normal hearing. 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.