From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are linked to your hearing health. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is related to your health.
1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes
When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, people with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but not as severe. This same research revealed 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 danger of hearing impairment is solidly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole variety of health problems have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. One theory is that the condition may impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of overall health could also be a relevant possibility. Research that looked at military veterans highlighted the connection 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 taking care of the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are concerned that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to consult with a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.
2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears
Numerous studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: Males who have high blood pressure are at a higher risk of hearing loss.
The circulatory system and the ears have a close relationship: Besides the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right near it. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause 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 cause physical damage to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. High blood pressure is treatable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re developing hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you need to schedule an appointment to see us.
3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia
Hearing loss might put you at a greater chance of dementia. Research from Johns Hopkins University that observed nearly 2,000 people over six years discovered that the danger of cognitive impairment 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 carried out over a decade by the same researchers. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.
It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.
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