From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are connected to the health of your hearing. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that evaluated more than 5,000 adults revealed that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to suffer mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed 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 related to an increased danger of hearing impairment. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health problems, and particularly, can result in physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. One theory is that the condition could affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be related to general health management. People who failed to deal with or manage their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study conducted on military veterans. If you are worried that you may 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 Damaged by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables such as noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that seems to matter is gender: Males who have high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right near it. Individuals with high blood pressure, often, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical damage to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be damaged by this. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you need to make an appointment for a hearing exam if you suspect you are experiencing any degree of hearing loss.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Almost 2000 individuals were examined over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia increases by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over 10 years by the same researchers. They also uncovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the risk of somebody without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.