From depression to dementia, many other health problems are connected to the health of your hearing. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is linked to your health.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that observed more than 5,000 adults determined that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to suffer mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing loss. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study revealed a consistent link between hearing loss and diabetes.
So an increased danger of hearing impairment is firmly connected to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of suffering from hearing impairment? Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole variety of health issues have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. One theory is that the disease could affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of your general health could also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to treat or manage their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study performed on military veterans. It’s important to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you think you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
It is well known that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: Men with high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries run right by your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. This is one reason why those with high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical damage to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power with every beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing impairment, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you should schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You might have a greater risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Nearly 2000 individuals 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 risk of dementia increases by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. This research also revealed that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent link to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. The danger rises to 4 times with severe hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.