Your hearing health is linked to many other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is related to your health in the following ways.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that observed over 5,000 adults. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but not as severe. This same research reported that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. 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 impairment is firmly linked to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole variety of health concerns have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. One theory is that the disease may affect the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be related to overall health management. Individuals who failed to deal with or control their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study carried out on military veterans. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure
It is well established that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you smoke. Gender seems to be the only variable that matters: Men with high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.
The ears and the circulatory system have a close relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries go directly past your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical damage to your ears. There’s more force with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be damaged by this. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you need to make an appointment for a hearing examination if you suspect you are developing any degree of hearing loss.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
You might have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Research from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 patients over six years found that the danger of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the level of hearing impairment, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study carried out over 10 years by the same researchers. This research also demonstrated 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. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
The bottom line is, if you’re experiencing hearing loss, you need to get it evaluated and treated. It’s about your state of health.