From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are linked to the health of your hearing. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is linked to your health.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, people 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. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30% more likely to have hearing loss than people with regular blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study found that the link 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 danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health problems, and particularly, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and limbs. One theory is that the disease may impact the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it may also be related to overall health management. A study that observed military veterans highlighted the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk to a doctor and get your blood sugar tested.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm 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 such as noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that seems to make a difference is gender: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
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 by your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. People with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause 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 cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. There’s more power with each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be damaged by this. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But if you think you’re experiencing 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. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Research from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 people over six years discovered that the danger of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study carried out over 10 years by the same researchers. They also uncovered a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. The risk rises to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.