From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are connected to your hearing health. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that looked at more than 5,000 adults found that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to endure mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also discovered that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, 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 loss than people with normal blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study found a consistent link between diabetes and hearing loss.
So an increased danger 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. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar harmful impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health may also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to treat or control their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study conducted on military veterans. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
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’re a smoker. The only variable that seems to make a difference is gender: Men who have high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries go directly by your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, 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 called 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. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing impairment, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you need to schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
You may have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Research from Johns Hopkins University that followed nearly 2,000 patients over six years discovered that the risk of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). And the worse the level of hearing impairment, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study conducted over a decade by the same researchers. They also uncovered a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these findings, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of someone without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
The truth is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it tested and treated. Your health depends on it.