From depression to dementia, many other health conditions are linked to your hearing health. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that observed over 5,000 adults revealed that individuals 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% more likely to have hearing impairment than those 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 fairly well established that diabetes is linked to an increased risk of hearing impairment. But the significant question is why is there a link. Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole variety of health problems have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health could also be a relevant possibility. A study that looked at military veterans highlighted the connection between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s essential to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
It is well established that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables such as noise exposure and whether you smoke. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries go directly past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you should make an appointment for a hearing examination if you think you are experiencing any amount of hearing loss.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a higher chance of dementia. Nearly 2000 individuals were studied 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%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, revealed that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also found a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with normal hearing. The danger goes up to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
The truth is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it tested and treated. It’s about your state of health.