From depression to dementia, many other health problems 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
A widely-cited study that observed over 5,000 adults revealed that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research reported that people 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 link between diabetes and hearing loss.
So it’s pretty recognized that diabetes is related to an increased risk of hearing impairment. But the real question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole variety of health problems have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. One theory is that the disease could affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be associated with general health management. Individuals who failed to treat or manage their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study performed on military veterans. If you are worried that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to consult with a doctor and get your blood sugar checked.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears
It is well established 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 solid. The only variable that seems to matter is gender: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical harm to your ears. There’s more force with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. 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 test if you think you are developing any amount of hearing impairment.
3. Dementia And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss might put you at a higher risk of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 people over six years discovered that the chance of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over a decade by the same researchers. These studies also revealed that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent link to hearing loss. Based on these findings, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the risk of somebody without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.