Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

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

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

1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing

A widely-cited study that observed over 5,000 adults found that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to experience mild or worse hearing impairment 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 impairment than those with normal blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study revealed a consistent connection between diabetes and hearing loss.

So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is related to an increased danger of hearing loss. But the real question is why is there a link. Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health problems, and in particular, can lead to physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One hypothesis is that the condition could affect 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 observed military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise taking care of the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are concerned that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.

2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure

It is well established that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.

The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: In addition to the numerous tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right near it. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. There’s more power with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is treatable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. 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 make an appointment to see us.

3. Dementia And Hearing Loss

You might have a higher chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Research from Johns Hopkins University that observed almost 2,000 patients over the course of six years discovered that the risk of cognitive deterioration 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 10 years by the same researchers. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent connection to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than someone with normal hearing. The risk rises to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.

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

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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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