Your hearing health is linked to many other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but less severe. This same research reported that people who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. A more recent meta-study revealed that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So a greater danger of hearing impairment is solidly connected to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a connection. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. It’s feasible 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 underscored the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk to a doctor and get your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure
It is well known that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: Males who have high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right by it. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially lead to physical harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more force with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially harm 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 schedule an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are experiencing any amount of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You may have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed nearly 2,000 patients over six years found that the chance 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 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 normal hearing. The risk increases to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s essential, then, to get your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.