From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are linked to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to have mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. Impairment 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 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 risk of hearing impairment is firmly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of experiencing hearing impairment? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health problems, and particularly, can result in physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. One hypothesis is that the condition could impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it may also be related to general health management. A study that observed military veterans underscored the link between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with unchecked diabetes, essentially, individuals who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are worried that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears
It is well established 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 appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: Men who have high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: 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 kind of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind every beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you need to schedule an appointment for a hearing test if you think you are developing any amount of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Almost 2000 people were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia rises by 24%. 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. 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 functional hearing. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it evaluated and treated. It’s about your state of health.