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. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing
When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but less severe. This same research reported 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 connection between diabetes and hearing loss.
So an increased risk of hearing impairment is solidly linked to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a connection. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health problems, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One theory is that the disease may impact the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it may also be associated with general health management. Individuals who failed to treat or manage their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study performed on military veterans. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you believe you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have demonstrated that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you smoke. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: If you’re a man, the link 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 run right past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. People with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. 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 lead to physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power with every beat. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is treatable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing test if you think you are experiencing any degree of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment
Hearing loss might put you at a greater risk of dementia. Almost 2000 people were studied 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 rises by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study carried out 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 functional hearing. The danger goes up to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.