Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is connected to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that examined more than 5,000 adults determined that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but not as severe. This same research reported that people who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study discovered a consistent connection between hearing loss and diabetes.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is related to an increased risk of hearing impairment. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of suffering from hearing loss? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. A whole range of health issues have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. One theory is that the disease may impact the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be associated with general health management. Individuals who failed to deal with or manage their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study performed on military veterans. It’s important to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
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’re a smoker. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: Males with high blood pressure are at a greater risk 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 primary arteries go right past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical damage to your ears. 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 manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you need to schedule an appointment for a hearing test if you suspect you are experiencing any degree of hearing impairment.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
Hearing loss may put you at a higher chance of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed nearly 2,000 patients over the course of six years found that the risk of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). And the worse the level of hearing loss, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study carried out over a decade by the same researchers. They also found a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the risk of someone without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.