From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are linked 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 looked at more than 5,000 adults determined that individuals 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 sounds, but not as severe. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30 percent more likely to have hearing impairment than those with normal blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study revealed a consistent connection between hearing loss and diabetes.
So a greater risk of hearing loss is firmly connected to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health concerns, and particularly, can lead to physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and limbs. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it could also be related to overall health management. Research that looked at military veterans underscored the connection between hearing impairment and diabetes, but specifically, it revealed that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, people who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are worried that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk to a doctor and get your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender seems to be the only variable that makes a difference: Males with high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.
The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries go right past your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. Individuals with high blood pressure, often, 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. But high blood pressure could also potentially lead to physical harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power with every beat. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries in your ears. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you should make an appointment for a hearing examination if you think you are developing any amount of hearing impairment.
3. Hearing Loss And Dementia
You might have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Almost 2000 individuals were analyzed 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 a decade, found that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.