American Hearing & Audiology - Conway, AR

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

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

1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing

When tested with low to mid-frequency tones, individuals with diabetes were twice as likely to have mild to severe hearing loss according to a widely cited study that observed over 5,000 adults. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, those with 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. A more recent meta-study revealed that the link between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.

So a greater danger of hearing loss is firmly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher danger of suffering from hearing impairment? Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole variety of health issues have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, eyes, and kidneys. One theory is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of your general health may also be a relevant possibility. Research that looked at military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, essentially, people who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s important to have a doctor check your blood sugar if you think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage 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 speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender appears to be the only variable that makes a difference: Males who have high blood pressure are at a higher danger of hearing loss.

The circulatory system and the ears have a close relationship: In addition to the many tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. People with high blood pressure, often, 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 result in physical damage to your ears. There’s more power behind each heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be injured by this. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, 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 Impairment

You may have a higher risk of dementia if you have hearing loss. Almost 2000 people were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk 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. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had a similar link to hearing loss. Based on these results, moderate hearing impairment puts you at 3X the risk of someone without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.

It’s crucial, then, to have your hearing examined. 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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