Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

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

From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are linked to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.

1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing

When tested with low to mid-frequency sound, individuals with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that evaluated over 5,000 adults. Hearing loss 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 impairment. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study found a consistent connection between diabetes and hearing loss.

So a greater risk of hearing impairment is firmly linked to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a connection. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and limbs. One theory is that the condition might affect the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of your general health may also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to treat or manage their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study carried out on military veterans. It’s essential to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure

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 matters: Men who have high blood pressure are at a higher risk of hearing loss.

Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: Two of your body’s primary arteries run directly past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. 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. But high blood pressure could also potentially lead to physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with each beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But you need to schedule an appointment for a hearing test if you think you are developing any degree of hearing loss.

3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment

You may have a higher risk 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%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, found that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. These studies also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent link to hearing loss. 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.

The bottom line is, if you’re experiencing hearing loss, you should get it tested 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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