Hearing Health Blog

Woman rubbing her leg after a fall because she couldn’t hear.

From depression to dementia, many other health conditions are connected 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, people with diabetes were two times as likely to have mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, those who have blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30 percent more likely to have hearing loss than people with regular 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 solidly linked to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a connection. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. A whole variety of health concerns have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, eyes, and kidneys. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar harmful impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it might also be related to overall health management. Individuals who failed to treat or control their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study performed on military veterans. It’s important to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure

Numerous studies have demonstrated that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could 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: Men who have high blood pressure are at a greater danger of hearing loss.

The circulatory system and the ears have a close relationship: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. 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 known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can cause physical damage to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power with every beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is treatable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But you need to schedule an appointment for a hearing exam if you suspect you are experiencing any degree of hearing loss.

3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia

You may have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Almost 2000 individuals were examined over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia increases by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, 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. Based on these findings, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.

The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you need to get it evaluated and treated. It’s about your state of health.

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References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373072
https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/741394/diabetes-hearing-impairment-united-states-audiometric-evidence-from-national-health
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/hearing-loss-common-people-diabetes
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23150692
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4632848/
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1108740
https://www.helpingmehear.com/hearing-aids-facts/
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/8541638/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3889339/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1808869415310016
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1558452
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/802291

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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