Your hearing health is connected to numerous other health concerns, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is related to your health in the following ways.
1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
A widely-cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults found that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to endure mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment 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 impairment. A more recent meta-study discovered that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.
So a greater danger of hearing loss is solidly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. A whole variety of health concerns have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of overall health might also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to deal with or manage their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study carried out on military veterans. It’s important to have a doctor check 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 known that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. The only variable that seems to matter is gender: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right near it. 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 kind of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. 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 power behind each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be damaged by this. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing exam if you think you are developing any degree of hearing impairment.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a greater risk of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that observed nearly 2,000 people over six years discovered that the danger of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, found 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. Based on these findings, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. The risk goes up to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s essential, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.