From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are linked to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is connected to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, people with diabetes were twice as likely to have mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also discovered that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, those who have 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 connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased danger of hearing loss. But the significant question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health problems, and in particular, can result in physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health may also be a relevant possibility. Research that observed military veterans underscored the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are concerned that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is associated with 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 like noise exposure and whether you smoke. Gender appears to be the only variable that matters: Males with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. People 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 kind of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical harm to your ears. There’s more power behind every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you need to make an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are developing any amount of hearing loss.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
Hearing loss may put you at a greater chance of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that observed almost 2,000 patients over the course of six years found that the chance of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the level of hearing impairment, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study conducted over 10 years by the same researchers. They also discovered 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. Extreme hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
The truth is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it evaluated and treated. Your health depends on it.