Health Issues Linked to Hearing Loss

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

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

1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes

A widely-cited study that examined over 5,000 adults found that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to endure 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. The researchers also discovered that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, those who have blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30% more likely to have hearing loss than people with normal 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 it’s fairly well established that diabetes is related to an increased risk of hearing loss. But the real question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health problems, and particularly, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar damaging affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health could also be a relevant possibility. Individuals who failed to treat or manage their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study carried out on military veterans. If you are worried that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar tested.

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 taking into consideration variables like 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 man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.

The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries go right by your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. People with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can result in physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with every beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be injured by this. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you should make an appointment for a hearing test if you think you are experiencing any amount of hearing impairment.

3. Dementia And Hearing Loss

You may have a greater risk of dementia if you have hearing impairment. Nearly 2000 people were analyzed over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia rises by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing loss, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study carried out over 10 years by the same researchers. These studies also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent connection to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, based on these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.

It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing tested. It’s about your state of health.


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