From depression to dementia, many other health problems are linked to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is related to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
A widely-cited study that examined more than 5,000 adults found that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but less severe. 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% more likely to have hearing loss than people with regular blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study discovered that the connection between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is related to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at an increased danger of experiencing hearing loss? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole range of health problems have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it might also be associated with overall health management. A study that looked at military veterans underscored the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked 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. Your Ears Can be Harmed 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 controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. Gender seems to be the only variable that makes a difference: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries go right by your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with every beat. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing exam if you suspect you are developing any degree of hearing loss.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You may have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Nearly 2000 people were examined over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study 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 10 years, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. These studies also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had a similar link to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than someone with normal hearing. Extreme hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
It’s essential, then, to have your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.