Health Issues Associated With Hearing Loss

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

From depression to dementia, many other health problems are linked to your hearing health. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is linked to your health.

1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing

When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that observed 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, in other words, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30 percent 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 link between diabetes and hearing loss.

So an increased risk of hearing impairment is solidly connected to diabetes. But the real question is why is there a link. Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole range of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, kidneys, and eyes. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar harmful impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But management of your general health could also be a relevant possibility. Individuals who failed to deal with or manage their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study carried out on military veterans. It’s essential to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you think you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure

It is well known that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. The only variable that appears to matter is gender: Males who have high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.

Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: Two of your body’s primary arteries run right past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside 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 type of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with every beat. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be damaged by this. 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 suspect you are developing any degree of hearing loss.

3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia

You may have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Nearly 2000 people were examined over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia rises by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, revealed that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also found a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these findings, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the risk of somebody without hearing loss. 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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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.