Hearing Health Blog

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

Your hearing health is connected to many other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is connected to your health.

1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes

A widely-cited study that observed more than 5,000 adults determined that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to suffer mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. A more recent meta-study found that the connection between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.

So an increased risk of hearing loss is solidly connected to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at an increased danger of experiencing hearing impairment? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health problems, and particularly, can result in physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar harmful impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it may also be associated with general health management. A study that looked at military veterans underscored the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, people who are not monitoring their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s essential to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you suspect you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears

Numerous studies have demonstrated that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables like noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that seems to matter is gender: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.

Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: Two of your body’s main arteries run right by your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure would speed up hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical harm to your ears. There’s more force behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries in your ears. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing impairment, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you should schedule an appointment to see us.

3. Hearing Loss And Dementia

You might have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that observed almost 2,000 people over the course of six years discovered that the danger of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing loss (about 25 dB). And the worse the level of hearing loss, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study carried out over 10 years by the same researchers. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than someone with normal hearing. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.

The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you should get it evaluated and treated. Your health depends on it.

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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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