From depression to dementia, numerous other health problems are linked to your hearing health. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were two times as likely to experience 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 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. A more recent meta-study revealed that the link between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is linked to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of suffering from hearing loss? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole range of health issues have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it could also be related to overall health management. Research that observed military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s essential to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears
It is well known that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that seems to make a difference is gender: Males with high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right near it. People with high blood pressure, often, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially lead to physical damage to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more power behind every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing test if you suspect you are developing any degree of hearing loss.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
You might have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 patients over six years discovered that the danger of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, found that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also uncovered a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. The risk goes up to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.