Your hearing health is linked to many other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that examined over 5,000 adults revealed that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but not as severe. This same research revealed that people who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing loss. A more recent meta-study revealed that the link between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s pretty established that diabetes is related to an increased risk of hearing impairment. But the significant question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health problems, and particularly, can lead to physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and limbs. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging affect 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 link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed 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 such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender seems to be the only variable that makes a difference: Males with high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. 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 harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power with every beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you need to schedule an appointment for a hearing examination if you think you are experiencing any amount of hearing loss.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that observed almost 2,000 patients over the course of six years discovered that the danger 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 danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over a decade by the same researchers. 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 someone with normal hearing. Severe hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing tested. Your health depends on it.